My Dog Ate Hair Dye or Bleach What Should I Do?

Reviewed By Kim •  Updated: 02/02/24 •  4 min read
Dog Severe Toxicity Level
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Important Note: If your dog has swallowed hair dye or bleach, please call the vet immediately. This is a medical emergency.

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Dogs can gain access to many things we use around the house, including hair dyes and the chemicals used when coloring our hair. And some people who would like to color their dog’s fur make the mistake of using human hair dye, which is toxic to dogs.

The Problem with Human Hair Dyes & Dogs

Hair dyes meant only to be used on us contains chemicals that can be poisonous and should never be used on dogs. The chemicals in hair dye can include hydrogen peroxide and bleach. If a dog swallows these substances, they can lead to internal burns and poisoning, or external burns. And if these chemicals get into a dog’s eyes, they can cause permanent blindness.

Never use human hair dye on your dog. And if your dog has swallowed any chemicals used in dying hair, then be sure to call the vet immediately. Never induce vomiting, unless told to do so by the vet.

It is strongly recommended to contact a Pet Poison Helpline or your veterinarian.

How Do Dogs Access Hair Dye or Bleach?

No matter how careful we try to be, accidents will happen. A dog may become interested in a container of hair dye or bleach left within his reach. He may grab it and think it’s a toy or maybe something to eat. You never know what our fur babies are thinking! If the dog bites into the container, he’s then exposed to the chemicals inside, which are extremely dangerous for dogs.

Another way for a dog to get into hair dye or bleach is if the fluid is spilled on the floor. He may believe the fluid is something yummy, and he licks it up before you can clean it up. Or a bottle of hair dye or bleach may fall on the floor and the dog could think it’s a treat or toy, pick it up and run off.

There are many ways a dog can gain access to hair dye or bleach, even when precautions are taken to keep this from happening.

In the end, it doesn’t matter how a dog has gained access to these harsh chemicals. If you see your dog eating hair dye or bleach, call the vet immediately.

Symptoms of Hair Dye & Bleach Poisoning in Dogs

You may notice these symptoms if your dog has ingested hair dye or bleach:

As soon as you notice these symptoms or know for sure that your dog has swallowed hair dye or bleach, then call the vet immediately. Take the hair dye container(s) with you, so the vet can see exactly how much and what types of chemicals your dog has swallowed.

What Should I Do If My Dog Ate Hair Dye or Bleach?

Stay calm and get him away from the area immediately. Try to determine how much the dye or bleach your fur baby’s eaten. Check to see if he’s showing any symptoms or whether he’s acting normally, then call the vet.

If you must take your dog to the vet, it’s a good idea to also take along the hair dye or bleach containers. The information on the outside of these containers may be helpful to the vet and your dog’s treatment.

Diagnosis & Treatment of Hair Dye & Bleach Poisoning in Dogs

When you reach the vet’s office, the vet may choose to induce vomiting if your dog has recently swallowed the chemicals. The vet will also check your dog for chemical burns in the esophagus and mouth, and on the body.

Treatment may also include flushing of any burned areas, IV fluids for your dog, and ulcer medication in case of stomach burns. Water is used to wash the chemicals off your dog and from inside his mouth. Milk is also sometimes used if the stomach has been irritated. Milk also works to dilute the bleach that may have been swallowed.

Your fur baby may need to be hospitalized or a day or so afterwards to make sure he’s recovering and not experiencing any complications. When you take him home, the vet will ask you to keep monitoring your canine companion for any symptoms. Your dog will also need rest for a time as he recovers.

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Kim is a talented author, who loves animals especially dogs. She engaged in writing books and articles relating to animals a decade ago. Kim resides in Chicago with her husband and son. The family is the proud owner of a dog and a parrot (Jack and Lily). Kim wanted more than these two pets, but her husband put his foot down... She often visits elementary schools to talk to the kids about what she learned about pets and how they could learn from them.

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