• Dyeing your dog – a step too far?

    October 13th, 2011Laura P (Editor)Articles

    The Daily Mail carried a very disturbing story today, featuring pictures of the winning entries in a “creative dog-grooming” competition which was held recently. The images have to be seen to be believed, but this is the one which really caught my eye:

    It’s a Standard Poodle. Trimmed, dyed and styled to look like a My Little Pony. Poor dog.

    Of course, the Mail makes light of this ‘amusing’ new hobby, which has reached our shores from, where else, the United States. But I can’t help feeling very uncomfortable on behalf of the poor dogs who have to endure this activity for the entertainment and glory of their owners.

    The Mail claims the colours come from washable vegetable dyes sprayed onto the coat, using stencils to achieve the patterns. Apparently it’s strictly regulated to ensure no animal is harmed.

    After the show they are washed and re-trimmed back into the canine shape that they were born with. According to one participant “The dogs are thrilled with the attention they get and they love strutting their stuff.”

    But, despite the protestations that it’s just a bit of fun, I can’t see the amusing side myself. People put down dog shows like Crufts because the dogs spend hours on the grooming table and are paraded around and not allowed to have a life – not an argument that I necessarily subscribe to, but how is this any better? The effects displayed here must take hours to achieve, and for what?

    A quick Google search for “creative dog-grooming” reveals further startling images, some quite elaborate and complex, featuring not just dye but also props and prosthetics. A few examples include: a dog dyed purple to look like a seahorse, held by his owner dressed like a mermaid; a dog bedecked in full Jack Sparrow costume including hat and sword; and an American football quarterback with a helmet and a muzzle to represent the face grill. The winner of the aforementioned competition was a poodle clipped like a Welsh Red Dragon, complete with costume wings and a castle turret to guard.

    Am I the only one who objects to this? I know it’s just a hobby, and probably a harmless one at that in the grand scheme of things, but it just seems somehow wrong. I know a dog cannot feel embarrassment, but what’s the point of this exercise and who does it really benefit?

    I knew this sort of thing was becoming popular in America, where cities across the country are as we speak also gearing up for a series of ‘dress your dog up’ Halloween parades. (There’s also another Daily Mail example, of dogs in China painted to look like wild animals.) But I am personally disappointed to see that it’s taking a foothold over here too.  I sincerely hope that it doesn’t take off.

    Surely I am not the only one who is uncomfortable with this?  Or perhaps I am over reacting? What do you think?

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2 responses to “Dyeing your dog – a step too far?” RSS icon

  • American Doglover

    I live in the United States and have never seen anything like this. I find it extremely sad and disgusting. These animals are being humiliated and abused. Putting a dog in some sort of Halloween costume for a few hours is different than dying their entire coat a different color and putting a wig and fake eyelashes on them for an entire day. And, might I add, I rarely see dogs in Halloween costumes here in the States anyhow. This is really sad, and I agree with you that it is wrong. I hope it is not still going on. Saying the dogs enjoy “struting their stuff” is like saying a toddler likes competing in a beauty pagent: they simply do not know any better. To betray a dog’s trust and love for its owner by abusing and humiliating the dog in this way is disgraceful.

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