Dog Seeks Out Hugs After Hair Dye Causes Nearly Fatal Burns


“Grab a tissue and hang on – we promise a very colorful ride – a tale of caution, extreme pain, incredible strength and love.” This is how Pinellas County Animal Services introduces Violet’s story.

The tiny Maltese mix was dyed purple by her previous owner as part of a grooming makeover, but the person accidentally used human hair dye and ended up burning poor Violet!

Pinellas County Animal Services

Violet was in very bad shape when she arrived at the shelter.

Warning: a few photos below are graphic and may be disturbing to some readers. 

“Violet’s eyes were swollen shut, she was limp and listless, she had obvious burns to her skin,” Pinellas County Animal Services wrote on Facebook. “We gave fluids, pain meds and we gently washed as much of the chemical dye off as we could, we bandaged her up. Then we waited – Violet went home with our veterinarian and we waited.”

They were alarmed when they shaved off her fur to really assess the damage that they noticed her “skin began to slough off”. The staff at the shelter wondered if Violet would pull through.

Pinellas County Animal Services

But the 5-pound dog showed a lot of courage and spirit and after three months of intense treatment and tender loving care, Violet is on the mend.

“Fast forward 3 months – pain medication, antibiotics, IV fluids, honey treatments, scab removal, anesthetizing, bandage changes, sleepless nights, worrying, hope, worrying, hope and finally the silver lining,” the shelter wrote.

Pinellas County Animal Services

“Violet began to tell us what to do – it started with a little noise; not really a bark, not really a cry. But then she found her voice and she never, ever, EVER stopped.”

“She began to walk the halls, visiting each office requesting treats or hugs or gentle pats, always in the lead with our veterinarian in tow,” they wrote. “It was clear – Violet was on the mend and she wanted everyone to know it.”

Thankfully, there was no lasting effects of the chemicals. Violet can still see and her hair grew back for the most part. “When the final badges came off we breathed a collective sigh of relief – Violet was beautiful,” said her rescuers.

Pinellas County Animal Services

She will never look the same as she did before, but her new family doesn’t care.

“She will always have her own individual style and that’s just fine with her new owners, who specialize in beautifying pets.”

We know that Violet’s new owners will do what they can to raise awareness about the dangers of using human hair products on dogs.

And Pinellas County Animal Services hopes that sharing Violet’s story serves as a caution for all pet parents.

Pinellas County Animal Services

“Please take one thing away from Violet’s journey – only use products specifically meant for pets or you could be putting your pet’s life on the line.”

The add: “Do NOT, under any circumstances, use hair color intended for humans on your pets. Chemicals in hair dye are TOXIC causing a wide array of external injury to your pet – possible burns, blindness and because an animal’s first instinct is to lick, it can cause poisoning or internal burns. Just don’t.”

There are a variety of pet-friendly hair coloring options available on market including: dyes for pets, pet hair sprays, pet fur chalk and food colorings.

If you are considering coloring to your dog’s fur, please consult with a professional groomer and/or veterinarian to discuss safe products and do your research before buying any product.

It should also be noted that even if a coloring product is considered pet-friendly, some dogs may have an allergic reaction.

To help support Pinellas County Animal Services and see the other dogs they have available for adoption, visit them on Facebook.


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