Tips For Lightening Dark Color Dog Hair

- For Professional Creative Groomers -

 Angel Gunn
Angel’s Grooming


Lightening hair is a controversial subject in creative grooming, and for a reason. It should not be taken lightly and it is a process that should be understood to the highest level possible before beginning. It is also not a process that should be feared. If there is fear then the process is not fully understood, and more research and knowledge needs to be acquired before taking on the task.

Years ago when I made the choice to try lightening my dog’s hair there wasn’t a company like OPAWZ that made products specifically for dogs. Due to this, I did extensive research on available products to learn if there were any that would not be overly harsh. This led to research about the entire process of hair lightening; toning, shades, levels of lightening and more. It wasn’t just on the subject of lightening hair. I delved into chemistry, specifically the chemical process of lightening and dyeing products. Only after I understood about as much as I could, did I feel comfortable to continue on and actually use the products.

I tried it on myself first. I felt that if it wasn’t comfortable enough for me to handle, how in the world would it be comfortable enough for my dog to handle? That was definitely a learning curve, but a good one. After trial and error on myself I was ready to try a test patch on my dog. She came out unscathed, and I knew we were ready for the full process. I started off small and then worked up to larger portions, always remembering to keep it as far away from the skin as possible while still getting the look I wanted.

Here is what I have learned about pet lightening over the years.

There is a saying when it comes to lightening hair, low and slow, or fast and furious. There are many debates on which way is best, but only you can make that decision, because only you know the hair you are working with and the desired effect you want. Bleach is a very alkaline product. Leave hair in bleach with any level of developer long enough and the alkalinity will damage the hair beyond fixing. I personally like higher developers because it gets results quicker and the pet has to set less time, but I am familiar with them and comfortable working with the speed at which they lighten. There are still always those times I feel a lower level developer will achieve the results I’m after, such as when I need a lower level of lightening but also a lower level yellow that the fast and furious method can produce. Whichever level of developer is chosen it should never be left on past the manufacturers processing time allotment.

Patience is absolutely key when it comes to lightening hair. This can be difficult when your application needs to be quick, but you still need to remember to be patient. If you can, you need to part sections and apply to each section at a time. This will not only give you better control on how close the product is applied to the roots, but it will also saturate the hairs better and give you a smooth even result. Once you’re finished applying to the hair don’t be afraid to go back in periodically during the processing time. Re-part your sections, move the hair around, make sure your application was even and that the hair is lightening to the desired level as evenly as possible. You can then reapply product to areas that were missed, not saturated as well, or are just stubborn and are not lifting well.


black dog hair coloring


All hair colors are measured in levels. Black being 1 and 10+ being platinum blonde. Certain colors require a certain level of lift for them to take properly. There are charts on the market that you can view to make it easier for you to determine what level of lift you need for which color. Many times it is also written on the products packaging and instructions.

Heat speeds up the processing time. The closer to the roots the quicker the hair will lighten due to the body‘s natural heat. Utilizing foils or some other type of insulating wrap not only helps speed up the processing by using heat, it also separates your sections and allows easier access for when you want to check back on the hair while it is processing. You can help speed the process up by putting foils or some type of wrap in the hair as you section it. If you plan to apply close to the roots, start off by applying further up on the hair. Once you finish applying product there, go back into your sections and reapply to the area you want closer to the roots. This will avoid your root area lightening quicker than the rest of the hair due to the body heat coming off the pet. If you’re applying very far from the roots this is not a step that you need to worry about.



Resting the hair before applying color is an important step. When utilizing this step, you have the ability to apply a product to help repair the damage done before further striping the hair when applying color. The skin will also be able to coat the hair in natural oils further moisturizing it which prevents damage. All of this will help balance the porosity of the hair giving you an easier time when applying the color and a smoother, more even result. 

Damage is bound to happen. The mere process of lightening hair opens up the cuticle and strips/dissolves its color. You can’t do this without damaging the hair. Thankfully there are products on the market that you can use to help repair this damage. There are many types of repairing treatments. Some utilize just adding moisture back to the hair others have ingredients that help restore the natural protein and moisture to the hair, as well as help close up that cuticle to protect from further damage and dryness. OPAWZ LPP and PPT are great examples of such products.




How To Lightening Black Dog Hair

When deciding to lighten a dog’s fur coat the time should be taken to fully research and understand the process of lightening hair. It is not a process that should be feared if it is fully understood.

Patch Testing

Patch testing is always a step that should be done on pets to determine if they will have an abnormal sensitivity to any product used. This should be done each time as any animal can develop new sensitivities at any point in their lifetime.

Level Of Developer

Level of developer is only a decision you can make with the knowledge of your own skill/ comfort level, knowledge of the specific type of coat you are dealing with, and your intended result is. No matter the choice of developer it should never be left on past the manufacturer's maximum process time.


Patience is a big factor when lightening hair. Application should be speedy for an even result but make sure you are still taking the time to fully saturate the sections. During processing go back into those sections to make sure they are lifting evenly. If they are not, reapply product to that area. Make sure you are lifting the hair to the appropriate level recommended for the color you have chosen to use. Remember heat speeds processing time utilize it properly for a more even result.


Rest the hair between applications whether it be further lifting or applying color. This gives the hair time to repair damage allowing the porosity to balance, and the hair cuticle to be able to absorb the color more evenly. Keep in mind damage is inevitable and utilize the products available to help repair that damage and restore moisture to the hair. For OPAWZ Lightening Cream and Developer recommending to use 1-2 weeks prior to dyeing.

how to color a black dog

Last but not least, Have Fun! This is a fun thing to do and every aspect about it should be fun!



How to Color a Black Dog with OPAWZ Lightening Cream >>>

How to Color a Black Dog II >>>

Hydrogen Peroxide Facts >>>


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