Important Note: If your dog has swallowed hair dye or bleach, please call the vet immediately. This is a medical emergency.
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.
Symptoms of Hair Dye & Bleach Poisoning in Dogs
You may notice these symptoms if your dog has ingested hair dye or bleach:
- Paw discoloration
- Excessive drooling
- Weakened limbs
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.
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.