A new trend in dyeing pet dogs to look like pandas has begun in China. Hsin Ch'en, a pet shop owner, and other pet stores are selling "Panda dogs." The colored canines are getting a high demand in the country and the stores can't satisfy all the customers.
Ch'en, who owns a store in southwest China's Sichuan Province, said the black and white-dyed chow chows are the new favorites in town. He added he has already perfected the technique of dyeing the chows to look like pandas. He noted the dyeing and grooming process only need to be handled carefully. In two hours, they can turn a chow into a panda dog.
Ch'en claimed, "There are no chemicals or cruelty involved. But the price of the dog does rise significantly because of the amount of grooming that goes into it. People don't mind paying the extra though - they like the fact that heads turn in the street and they can tell their friends: 'I have a panda dog'," as reported by The Mirror.
Ch'en and more shops in China that sell panda dogs didn't disclose the exact chemicals or technique they use in dyeing chow chows. This emerging new trend in China was met with concerns by pet owners online. Some pet owners and animal activists sound off that cruelty is done to the panda dogs.
Toxic chemicals in the dye can pose health and safety issues to the dogs. Dyeing any animal's hair or fur is considered wrong for many reasons. Hair dye is only meant for human use, and there are no hair dyes specifically made for dogs yet.
"Officially, there are no completely safe dyes for animals, period, as there have been no studies to show if there are any long terms effects. Since there are people that have reported health problems using hair dye, it is only natural that a dog may have some of the same reactions," reported Cesar's Way, Cesar Millan's official Web site.
The process of hair dyeing for dogs is entirely different compared to humans. Dogs must have its whole body covered in dye unlike humans who dye their heads. The dye can enter the dog's eyes, mouth and ears. Also, since the dogs' whole body gets covered with dye, it might cause irritation in the whole body.
"Pets do not understand why they are being subjected to this type of treatment, nor do they like it, because it is unnatural for them. The dog has no control over how it looks and it cannot do anything about it," the CW report added.
Specialists and veterinarians do not recommend hair-dyeing dogs because it will be physically and psychologically harmful to the pets.