What States Is It Illegal to Dye Your Dog?


You may have seen that trend that occasionally pops up on social media where dog owners spice up the looks of their dogs with a head-turning dyed fur color for their dogs. It’s not a good idea to dye your dog’s fur, but I know some owners like it. Based on that, I wanted to explain to you which states have laws prohibiting dyeing a dog, as well as some tips if you feel like you want to dye your dog – but don’t do it. I think it isn’t warm-hearted. 

Do you know in which states it is illegal to dye your dog? 

In most states, there are no laws prohibiting dog owners from dyeing the fur and hair of their dogs. As far as dyeing your dog, it is only illegal in a few states. Some of these states are Florida, South Carolina, Maine, and Colorado. Dying a dog is a punishable offense in these states because it is deemed an act of animal cruelty, so dyeing a dog is a punishable offense.

Keeping reading will teach you all about the anti-dying laws put in place by these states, as well as what punishment awaits you if you are found guilty of dyeing your dog violating these laws.

Dye them not: Why it’s illegal to dye your dog in these states. 

I’ve seen it all. 

The fur of some of them is decked out in bright rainbow colors. Others are hot pink or purple. Then, some are groomed and dyed in such a way as to look like wild animals or popular TV characters (hi, Pikachu!). We all view our dogs as extraordinary beings who deserve to be pampered in any way we feel is appropriate. It is, after all, our property that they belong to us. 

If you are an adventurous pet parent, you would want your dog to stand out from the crowd in every way, whether you dress them up in ridiculous costumes or change their basic appearance with an eye-catching dye.

While some dog parents dye their dogs to make a bold fashion statement, others do not. 

It is purely for safety reasons that some people do it. Fortunately, dyed dogs are not targeted by thieves, as their colorful fur makes them easily identifiable, making them less attractive to burglars.

If you are thinking about dyeing your dog – whether it is for aesthetic or safety reasons – the laws in your state will likely determine whether you are allowed to carry on with your decision or if you will have to hold your decision up. 

In some states, it is not allowed to dye a dog, and this is due to health reasons. It is illegal to dye a dog in the following conditions:

  • Florida
  • South Carolina
  • Maine
  • Colorado

In these states, dyeing your dog can be regarded as animal cruelty as it does not benefit the dog’s overall well-being, so it falls under the category of cruelty. Instead, it is associated with several risks, both physically and psychologically. For instance:

  • As a general rule, dogs have sensitive skin, and if they are exposed to certain dyes (even those deemed to be “pet-safe,” like the color in the picture), they can develop an allergic reaction.
  • Dogs are heavily affected by dyeing: If they smell a strange smell on their body or see a reflection of their unnatural appearance, they can become super anxious. 
  • In removing the excess dye from your hair, a great deal of water is used to ensure a perfectly-colored look to prevent painful ear infections. A dog’s ears can become infected with dye-contaminated water during rinsing, leading to diseases due to dye contamination.
  • Dogs form friendships with one another through sniffing and mastering the natural body scent of their friends and other dogs. The act of dyeing profoundly affects how dogs interact with one another. Dyeing a dog might cause it to face social rejection from the rest of the pack because it smells “unnatural.” And as a result of the sacrifice, they might become psychologically distressed as a result of it.
  • The dye used during the dyeing process, even pet-safe, can accidentally come off the dog, leading to unpleasant symptoms such as nausea and stomach upset if the dog licks off the dye during the dyeing process.
  • Because dyeing is often a long and tedious process, allowing your dog to sit for hours on end might result in unnecessary discomfort for him.
  • If you dye your dog’s fur, then there is no doubt that he will be the center of attention when you walk him in public, bringing him to the forefront. If an unrelenting flow of attention suddenly surrounded them, it would be straightforward for them to become overwhelmed.

What the law in South Carolina says 

A law in South Carolina states that it is illegal for any animal, including dogs, to be dyed because it violates the law.

As well as bringing a dyed dog into the state, getting one dyed in another state is also illegal. The bottom line is that if you have colored your dog in a state without any anti-dying laws, you should remove the dye before moving to or visiting South Carolina if you intend to move there.

The South Carolina law enforcement officer who finds you with a dyed dog will arrest you for the misdemeanor crime of possessing a dyed dog. There is a maximum punishment of 30 days in jail or a fine of $200 for this offense, depending on the severity of the crime. 

Is it illegal to dye a dog in Florida?

It is against the law in Florida to dye any animal – including dogs – for any reason. Florida is a state that also prohibits the importation of dyed dogs, like South Carolina. 

Dogs that have been dyed are considered to be misdemeanors in the second degree. You will be punished if you are found guilty by paying a $500 fine or being imprisoned for not more than 60 days if you are convicted.

What the law in Maine says

Maine has enacted a law prohibiting the display, sale, or giving away of dyed dogs. The “display” aspect refers to the fact that you cannot publicly show up with a dyed dog. 

However, this law does not apply to owners whose dogs have been legally authorized to be used for hunting or exhibition competitions. Even in this case, you need the appropriate documentation to prove that the authorities have legally acknowledged your dog’s dyed look.

Unless it is for legally acknowledged hunt or exhibition purposes, you will be charged with committing a civil offense if you dye your dog for any other reason. 

Dining your dog in Maine is illegal, and you may be fined up to $100 if you do so.  

What the law in Colorado says

It is unlawful for dog parents in Colorado to dye their dogs, citing an animal cruelty law that makes it illegal for them to do so. In most cases, it’s a misdemeanor offense, which can lead to a jail sentence or a staggering $1,000 fine.  

As an example of how severe the anti-dyeing dog laws in Colorado are, a salon owner in Colorado was once slapped with a $ 1,000 fine by the state for dyeing her poodle pink to illustrate how serious it is. 

Here’s the shocking part. 

The whole dyeing idea that she had in mind was aimed at raising awareness among her customers about breast cancer. It is also worth mentioning that she used organic beetroot juice to color her poodle. 

It should also be noted that even if you dye your dog for a good cause and use non-toxic products while at it, your good intentions could still get you in trouble in Colorado even if you dye your dog for a good reason. 

If you’re going to dye your dog, do it the safe way

If you choose to dye your dog’s hair in any other state besides those mentioned above, you won’t likely run into any legal issues if you decide to do so. 

Nevertheless, if you’re going to get on board with the dyeing dog trend, you’d better proceed with caution before jumping in. 

The first thing you should know is that you should never color your dog using dyes formulated for humans. The ingredients in human paint are toxic, which means that if they penetrate your dog’s pores and penetrate his body, they can kill your dog or put him in a near-death situation. 

In addition, your dog can develop internal burns due to licking off the dye’s harsh chemicals, among other life-threatening symptoms.

As soon as the side effects of human dye begin to kick in, your dog will require a lot of pain medication, safe scab removal efforts, IV fluids, and special care to recover fully. 

To color your dog, only use dyes that are safe for dogs, food colors, or natural plant-based dyes. Despite this, it is worth mentioning that even the commercial shades considered “dog-safe” on the market aren’t 100% safe for dogs. 

Before covering your dog’s entire body with the non-toxic dye, you should also do a patch test to ensure it is not toxic.

Even though you are free to decide whether you want to color your lovely dog, consider the psychological and physical health risks involved.

FAQs on dying dog fur

Is dyeing dogs illegal in Florida?

Yes, that’s right. It is illegal to dye your dog in Florida because it puts the animal’s welfare at risk.

Are you allowed to dye your dog?

To determine this, you need to know what state you live in. Although most states do not have laws prohibiting dog owners from dyeing their dogs if they choose to, there are some states where dog dyeing is illegal.

Can you dye your dog’s hair in Colorado?

No, you can’t. As mentioned earlier, Colorado has a law stating that it’s illegal for dog parents to dye their dogs fur.

Can I tie-dye my dog?

As noted earlier, you can dye your dog only if it’s legal in your state. You should also use dog-safe dyes and avoid human stains altogether. 

But I don’t recommend it for the reasons I’ve outlined, legal or not.

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