Please Do Your Homework!

I was recently sent a link by one of our NAPCG fans to an article written for Cesar’s Way regarding creative coloring.

I read the article with an open mind, and actually agreed…with some of the information. The writer is actually referring to oxidizing dyes in this article. In layman terms, these are dyes that must be mixed with a developer in order to be ‘activated’. These dyes contain carcinogens, cause chemical reactions, and are dangerous for use on pets…no matter how careful one claims to be. Keep in mind that the canine respiratory system is also much more sensitive than a human being. Are there groomers out there using these dyes? Yes. Mostly hard core competitors who want results no matter what the risk. As the president of the NAPCG, I completely agree with our author on this point….oxidizing dyes (dyes that must be mixed prior to use) should never be used on pets. I am proud to say that all NAPCG members adhere to our code of ethics and do not use these products.

However, I must point out that there are dyes that can be safely used on pets….semi-permanent dyes. In layman’s terms, semi-permanent dyes ‘stain’ the coat. The pigment molecules penetrate the cuticle and absorb into the cortex…and they sit there. There are no chemical reactions, no damage to the coat, and no toxic fumes. While the product does stain the epidermis, they do not penetrate the dermis or hypodermis.

I also agree that canine skin is much more sensitive than human skin. While a human has approximately 20-25 cellular layers to the epidermis, a canine only has about 8-10. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that canine skin will be more susceptible to the chemical reactions that are caused by oxidizing dyes.

I also read the authors quote ‘there are no pet labeled dyes’. This is simply incorrect. There are a few semi-permanent dyes labeled for use on pets. As explained above, they simply ‘stain’ the coat.

The last paragraph was the one I really had a problem with. Carefully chosen pets who are colored will not suffer ‘psychological damage’. I do agree that coloring is not for every pet. Pets who are shy, withdrawn, or have social issues are not good candidates for creative coloring. A colored pet will draw attention…and that’s a fact. But most pets enjoy the extra attention. Creative dogs that are colored in an extreme fashion, such as my own standard poodles, are trained from puppyhood. They are poodles…they will have to be on a grooming table whether they are colored or not. When they enter our salon, my poodles leap right onto the table. For one thing, they enjoy the one on one time with their mom. For another thing, this is their ‘job’. Dogs love working and they are much more content when they have a job to perform, even Cesar knows this. For extreme designs, my poodles are groomed and colored in stages…they are not kept on the table for extended periods of time. Again, many hard core competitors will willingly do this, but members of the NAPCG know that no groom is worth sacrificing the well-being and safety of their pets.

I really wish this author had done her homework. She made many valid points, but they are not quite correct. This is why the NAPCG exists….to educate groomers as well as the public about what is (and what is not) safe for our beloved pets, so that creative grooming can be enjoyed by both humans and pets without the risks of coat damage or compromising their safety.

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