Will Food Coloring Hurt My Dog? The Startling Truth

Will Food Coloring Hurt My Dog

To ensure your dog’s good health, you should be aware of everything that goes into your dog’s stomach. Many dog food brands include multiple ingredients that may or may not harm your dog.

But you should know everything they put into dog foods. One of the most common things used by many pet food industries is Food coloring. Now, you must be wondering what food coloring is.

Is it good for your dog? Will Food coloring hurt my dog? That’s the reason you’ve landed on this page.

Using FDA-approved colors is necessary because they are approved to be non-toxic and safe for dog use. However, try not to use artificial food colorings, as they’re toxic food colors.

Although it is certified as secure, it is not as safe more than natural food colors from berries, veggies, and plants.

In this article, We’ll explain everything that comes to mind when you think about Food Coloring. Without further ado, Let’s dive together in this article to learn more.

 What is Food Coloring? 

Food colors dyes were first produced from by-products of coal processing, and it was named coal tar. In 1856, William Henry Perkins was the first to discover the first organic dye, which was called mauve.

Food coloring is a pigment or dye used to add colors to food, drink, drugs, cosmetics, or human hair. It comes in gel, powder, liquid, and paste forms. It is used in commercial and domestic food to add color, making them attractive, appealing, and delicious.

However, it is also said that dogs do not care about colors; they just need food and taste.

Role of FDA in Food Coloring

FDA stands for Food and Drug Administration, which is responsible for assuring public health by testing and approving drugs, food, and cosmetics.

In food coloring, the FDA-approved food coloring means the FDA has approved it to be safe for consumption and is not toxic for dogs.

Can Dogs Eat Food Coloring?

Can Dogs Eat Food Coloring

Yes, dogs can eat FDA-approved food coloring, as the FDA ensures that they are non-toxic and safe for consumption.

However, it is also recommended to avoid using food coloring and instead use natural veggies and fruits to add colors.

Effects of Food Coloring for Dogs

Artificial food coloring affects dogs’ bodies in many ways, as it does not break down easily, which leads to the accumulation of dogs’ bodies.

It leads to health issues in dogs, especially in regular consumption.

You can limit their use, but instead of limiting, avoid using any artificial color-based food. Even a natural dye color can cause illness in regular use. Artificial coloring can lead to skin infection, skin cancer, cancer, or many other diseases because of the harsh chemicals.

Will Food Coloring Hurt My Dog?

If the Food coloring is not FDA-approved, it will surely hurt your dog. Different food coloring causes different issues: some are toxic some get toxic over time with much consumption.

Food colors that are natural and made from vegetables and spices are harmless for dogs.

If your dog eats an unsafe artificial food color, it can lead to severe health issues that are artificial colors should be avoided. Fruit-colored are not toxic as they are natural.

Can it Kill Your Dog?

Food coloring can lead to diseases, even if it does not cause instant death, leading to deadly diseases: cancer and skin infection because they accumulate in dogs’ bodies.

Which Colors to Avoid Feeding to Dogs?

Mostly, it is recommended to avoid using any food coloring and instead use natural coloring to add colors. However, there are specifically a few colors to avoid: red, orange, blue, green, and purple.

Your pet’s body cannot break down these colors easily, which is extremely harmful to them. It gets accumulated in the body and causes health issues like red dye has a chemical called harmful cochineal extract.

Blue food coloring is considered toxic for many reasons. Mostly, it’s said it leads to skin issues and cancer in pets. Instead of using these colors, use natural ingredients: vegetables and fruits ( it is healthier, tasty, and beneficial).

Safe Colors to Feed to Your Dog?

Food colors that are safe and natural and will not affect your dog’s health are black pepper, ginger root, turmeric, paprika, red wine, and grape juice. These are natural colors and have no side effects on the dog’s health when taken in small quantities.

Additionally, naturally white or beige food, such as almond milk, clay, mayonnaise, and vanilla, is safe to feed your dogs if they can digest it.

Natural Food Colorings for Dogs

The health of your dog should be the most important factor for you. Using artificial food coloring can cause health damage to your dog because the artificial colors have carotenoids, and you need to stay away from them.

On the other hand, natural food coloring is everlasting. You can get natural food products from plants containing carotenoids and anthocyanins (the most common ones).

A green pigment named chlorophyll from leaves gives yellow shades, and berries can give dark-colored shades. Use natural food coloring as much as possible.

Artificial Food Colors for Dogs

Manufacturers use artificial colors in freshening and brightening the appearance of dog food, and they are less expensive and give amazing colors. It was created by coal tar, which is now replaced by toxic chemicals (rosaniline and tartrazine).

Both of these are harmful for consumption. FDA (food and Drugs Administration) and EFSA ( European Food Safety Authority) do testing and ensure which one is safe and which is not. However, it is still considered that they are not safe for dog consumption.

Is Gel Food Coloring Safe For Dogs?

Gel food coloring has a concentration and contains more dye per tablespoon. It needs to break down in boiling water, and the molecules have fewer chances of reacting with proteins.

Compared to regular food coloring, gel food coloring has no flavors (artificial). So it is less likely to taste bad. Gel food coloring has no sugar, which makes it better for consumption.

What if Dog Have Allergies to Food Colorings? (Safe Alternatives)


Is it okay to add food coloring? It is safe and fine if you add FDA-approved food coloring to your dog food.

However, it is still based on the specific dog and its allergies, so avoiding using any color in dog food is best.

Instead of using food coloring, you can use ingredients that will help you add colors to dog food. There are a few ingredients that help in adding colors to dog food:

How to add red and pink coloring to dog food? You can use beetroots, strawberries, and raspberries for red coloring.

You can use turmeric, pumpkin, carrots, and sweet potatoes for orange coloring. If you want to add yellow, use egg yolk and turmeric.

Although purple food coloring should be avoided, if it is made with blueberries and blackberries, then there is no issue. You can use peanut butter for brownish color and kale and green veggies to add green coloring to dog food.

This method of adding coloring is beneficial as it has fruits and vegetables, and it also adds scent and taste to dog food, which is important for dogs.

Is it Ok to Add Food Coloring To a Dog Treat?

Adding food coloring to your dog’s food is safe when you use colors approved by the FDA. Use according to FDA directions: then it is safe for pets. However, if your dog undergoes allergic reactions to food coloring, avoid using it.

Even though FDA-approved food coloring is safe but still, avoid using it and instead use natural or homemade ingredients to add colors to dog food.

How to Dye a Dog’s Fur With Food Coloring?

It is an easy process that you can do in some steps. Just follow the below-mentioned steps, and it will help you achieve our results without ruining anything:

Step 1:

Checking your dog’s coat and body includes checking for wounds, injuries, or scars. If your dog has any of these, let it heal or avoid dying on it. If your dog has any skin infection or skin-related issues, avoid dying it.

Step 2:

Choosing color: Never use hair dye or human hair dye colors on your dog. And it can be toxic because it has bleaches and ammonia, and dogs lick themselves. Use colors safe for human consumption.

Step 3: 

Mix your chosen color with water and make a proper paste. Read the instructions and add water and drops of color accordingly.

Step 4: 

Bath your dog: before dying, give them a bath and dry and clean them. To reduce mess, dye them in a tub.

Step 5:

Wearing gloves and dying: wear latex gloves to save your hands from color, and then dip your spongin color and pat it on the area you wish to dye.

Step 6:

Be careful while dyeing sensitive areas like the eye, mouth, and ears. And then, let it settle down for 30-40 minutes or the time the dye instruction mentions.

Step 7:

Bath your dog, pat your dog dry with a towel or hairdryer if they can handle it.

How Long Does Food Dye Last on Dogs?

Dying your dog is not a good idea. It does not look flashy but can harm their health and lifespan. Because of these reasons, many states have made it illegal to dye your dogs. When you dye your dog, how much does it stay on them?

How long the color will stay on the dog depends on the coating and the kind of dye you use on your dog. Some dyes remain on the pet’s body for 4-5 days, depending on their bathing habits: it may take more than a month or two ( total of 5-6 washes) to remove from the dog’s body completely.

In What States Is it Illegal to Dye Your Dog?

Dying your pets, especially dogs’ hair, has become a fashion in the last few years. In cities like Tokyo, London, and new-york it has become a common thing to do.

However, people think that funny, fun, and flashy. However, it is also dangerous not only for dogs but for humans too.

It is not natural to color your dog. We are humanizing our pets, so you should avoid doing it and educate people around you. There are a few states which took action and made it illegal to dye your dog.

Dying pets causes them fines and jails. If not taken seriously. Those states that have made it illegal to dye your pets are Maine, Colorado, South Carolina, and fluoride.


Does using food coloring cause issues in dogs? Will food coloring hurt my dog? These are some of the questions we have answered in this article.

Yes, it does affect your dog’s body and leads to severe health issues. However, using natural colors can help you avoid health issues in your pets.

If your dog ate food coloring, what to do? Will your dog die? No, these artificial colors do not affect like this. Food colors accumulate in their body over time and then cause issues with seizures, cancers, and other diseases.


Is a red dye in dog food bad?

Red dye or red dye 40 is unsafe for dogs because it is an artificial food dye with cancer-causing contamination. For some dogs, it can result in hypersensitivity or seizures, and it must be avoided for the benefit of their health.

Is blue food dye bad for dogs?

Blue food dye is not safe to eat because it has aluminum in large quantities, which can affect your dog’s skin and lead to skin cancer. Blue dye is considered in the list of avoiding food dye for dogs.

Can you taste food coloring?

Some food colors are not safe for dogs or humans (red, purple, blue) and have a bitter taste. However, if the FDA approves the coloring, it is safe to taste. But still, you should avoid doing it because you have no idea how much it is processed.

Is red food coloring bad for dogs?

Red food coloring has a chemical called cochineal extract, which is unsafe for dogs. Even small amounts of it can eventually lead to extremely harmful effects for the dog because it does not break down inside the body easily.

Mary is a Dog lover and a pet blogger. She’s been writing helpful tips for dog owners regarding dog’s eating behavior, the selection of suitable dog food, and what foods dogs can or can’t eat.

Also, she’s been writing on multiple blogs as a guest blogger regarding dog food and how to feed a dog in a correct way.

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