POSTED: Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - 3:37pm
UPDATED: Thursday, February 9, 2012 - 1:04pm
NBC NEWS — Three weeks before Christmas, and a tiny 5-month-old Boston Terrier French Bulldog mix is standing on the grooming table at Happy Dog Spa and Boutique in Belmont, North Carolina, patiently watching as the salon manager and two other women fawn over her and apply a bright red dye to her fur.
“She’s going to get a red coat all over. She’s going to be Christmasy,” said one enthusiastic daycare and bath worker.
Pet dying is popular in China where some dog owners dye their animals to resemble tigers or pandas.
Happy Dog Salon manager Renae Chao was inspired by trade magazines, featuring elaborately dyed animals, several colors and shave patterns.
She says the work she does at the salon is far less elaborate and more everyday accessible.
Chao admits there can be controversy over the color.
“Some people think it’s cruel. Some people think it’s fun. None of the dogs seem to be bothered by it,” Chao said. “I’ve seen dogs with bows and bandanas bothered by those things, but they don’t seem to mind it much.”
Meantime, a 13-year-old Chihuaua named Chiquita is patiently waiting as she gets some green pine trees and snowflakes stenciled on her body.
Chao adds a temporary glitter and says the temporary colors last a few weeks, the semi-permanent ones last several months and are all animal-safe or manufactured specifically for cats and dogs.
A complete body dye can run about $50, while stenciling and partial dyes run between $5 and $10.