In an apparent trend sweeping across Hong Kong, pet owners are subjecting their dogs to "fur dyed in lurid shades," reports the South China Morning Post.
The fad may have leapt from the U.S. to Hong Kong and China, where chow chows are painted to look like pandas. (And just ask the dog painted as the Clemson Tiger -- the practice is still proudly on display in the U.S.)
But dog dyes can damage more than our sense of aesthetics. Hong Kong trainers and animal welfare activists argue that coloring pets puts the animals in harm's way, if the dogs ingest or absorb the wrong chemicals. Dog trainer Rosemarie Tang points out: "If you use human dye products which contain peroxides and ammonia they can be very harmful to human skin, so I am sure it will not be good for a dog."
There are bans on dyeing dogs in some parts of the United States -- a Boulder woman was fined $1,000 for dyeing her dog pink in 2008, and there was a similar pink pooch incident in Florida.
In Hong Kong, Tang would like the fad -- and the dogs' coats -- to simply fade back to normal. "I just hope people get over this trend quickly before dogs are harmed," she says.