We Tried Opawz Permanent Dye for Dogs

During June of this year, I went along with some friends to Seattle to spend a day in the city, watch the Pride parade, and enjoy some food with friends and dogs. I myself have not a colorful thing in my wardrobe, but I wanted to do something to participate in the festivities.

So naturally, I dyed my dog’s hair. As one does.

Luckily, I knew of some wonderful dog-safe products to help me add a little flair to Wicca, my pomeranian, and her dark fluffy coat.

What Can I Use to Dye My Dog’s Fur?

You can use a lot of things to dye your dogs hair, such as food coloring, chalk, or specially-formulated dog hair dye. The important thing is that you stay away from products intended for use on humans; our hair and skin has key differences from that of dogs, and dogs can sometimes have nasty reactions to human hair products.

Luckily, I was aware of dog-safe hair coloring products from Opawz because I used to take both of my little dogs to a professional creative groomer a few years ago (maybe I should get back on it?) and she was happy to tell me all about the products she used.

For Wicca’s colorful rainbow makeover, I used Opawz permanent dyes:

Because Wicca has a dark coat, I carefully lightened areas that I wanted to dye. For this the best option is Opawz Lightening Cream and Developer, which is formulated specifically for dogs to minimize damage and keep their coats happy.

For the “Average Joe,” however, I recommend leaving lightening (or anything using a developer, such as a true black dye) to professionals. Search for a creative groomer in your area and they should be able to help you lighten any areas safely.

How Do You Dye a Dog’s Hair with Opawz?

To dye Wicca’s hair with the Opawz dye, I sit her up on an elevated surface and apply the color to areas that I want to color. It’s very much like dyeing human hair when you’re working with the permanent dyes from Opawz: paint the color where you want it to deposit, let it sit, and rinse it out in roughly 20-30 minutes.

The trouble with coloring a dog’s fur is getting them to sit still so the color doesn’t transfer everywhere, and in making sure that they do not try to lick it at all.

For Wicca’s color session, I had some peanut butter handy and gave her some on a spoon to keep her preoccupied, happy, and not thinking about the goop sitting in her fur. She was pretty happy through the whole process, actually; after all, she was getting food and attention, and that’s a double win.

opawz dog dye review
Looking scruffy after a rinse but very pleased with herself.

Is Opawz Safe for Dogs?

Opawz is specially-formulated for dogs and completely safe to use on them. You can even use their dyes on yourself, if you wanted to.

Even the Opawz lightener and developer dye (“Super Black,” which will come out black-black instead of blue-black) is generally safe to use on dogs with proper care to avoid sensitive areas.

Always do a test-strand/test-spot with any new hair product for your dog to ensure that they don’t have an allergy or adverse reaction. Avoid the eyes, mouth, and bare skin, and make sure you’re supervising your dog during the whole process.

And, of course, if you’re ever unsure, just go to a pro! Creative grooming is more and more common these days, and chances are you’ll be able to find a professional with a ton of practice and know-how to help you along.

Can You Permanently Dye a Dog’s Hair?

The dyes I used are listed as “permanent” dyes, which lasts over twenty washes. For dogs that see washes much less frequently than humans, this is a feat!

Wicca’s dye has held up for a few weeks now without any significant fading. I think Opawz’s claims of longevity are probably very accurate.

However, understand that dogs will shed even if their hair is dyed.

You can permanently dye a dog’s hair, but eventually the dog will shed those colored hairs out and replace them with whatever their typical coat is. The time it takes for this turnover will vary depending on the dog, but even permanent colors will need occasional maintenance for long-term results.

That said, even my fluffy, double-coated, competitive shedder of a pomeranian still has her color and is showing no signs of fading. Hats off to Opawz, as Wicca’s coat has really held on to the product well.

Wicca and Tanuki absolutely pooped after a fun day in the city.

Does Opawz Work on Black Dogs?

While walking around Seattle that day, Wicca got a lot of “oohs” and “aahs,” and a few people even stopped to take pictures of her. One person, as I passed by them, asked how I managed to get color to show up on a black dog.

They had a good point! Wicca is a near-black pom, and definitely needed a few extra steps in order for Opawz to work on her.

Opawz dyes do in fact work on black dogs, given you prepare their fur appropriately beforehand. Very dark fur will need to be lightened before deposited color (like Opawz dog-safe hair dyes) can show through properly.

This is what I did with Wicca, and I’m very glad that Opawz has a dog-safe lightener available for creative grooming.

Given that I had to work with lightener first, some dye colors took really well, while others were a little more difficult to get to work properly. This is because lightening the fur will have the same effect as lightening human hair; it will leave a yellow/orange appearance to the hair that then needs to be corrected.

Warm colors like the pink tones came out bold and vibrant and are still kicking as I write this.

On the other hand, the yellow/orange tones made the blue dye difficult, because blue dye over yellow/orange hair will cancel each other out to a degree. It’s color theory; blue/purple and orange/yellow are across the color wheel from one another, so when you apply blue dye to too-orange fur, the blue will have trouble standing out.

Some of Wicca’s hair just became “toned,” or looked more white or gray. However, the blue dye still had a visible effect, and I was happy with the outcome as I did not want to lighten her hair any further.

opawz dog dye review
The Opawz dye job a day or two after application

Author: Kimberlee Tolentino

Kimee has worked hands-on with dogs for over ten years, and today serves the role of head trainer and owner at Lugaru K9 Training in Port Orchard, Washington. Kimee has been a shelter volunteer, a dog walker, dog behavior intern, a dog trainer, and now specializes in behavior modification for pet dogs.