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Riggins and His Friends Try Out PetPaint, a Color “Furspray” for Dogs

I had some reservations about painting my dog, but after seeing the results and hearing people's reactions, I now think it's a great idea.

Wendy Newell  |  Jan 6th 2016


When I was asked to review PetPaint, a color “furspray” for dogs, I had mixed feelings. Although I’m all for colored hair — I’ve sported blue, pink, turquoise, and every shade of blonde imaginable this year — I wasn’t sure I’d be happy with it on my dog, Riggins, and his friends that we dog sit, the Active Pack. I’m a dog naturalist, with Riggins spending limited time in clothing (Halloween being one of the exceptions). Paint seemed like it would be just another way to torture my poor pup.

We had this product to review, though, so I put my hesitation aside: The pups were getting painted!

PetPaint on ABC's Shark Tank (Photo courtesy of PetPaint's Facebook Page)

PetPaint on ABC’s Shark Tank (Photo courtesy PetPaint’s Facebook page)

As usual when trying new things, I didn’t spend much time on the instructions and instead scanned quickly and got to work. I don’t suggest this. You should always read and follow all instructions. A couple things stood out during my quick glance at the fine print. PetPaint suggests that if you want to add color to a black dog, like many of those in my pack, start with white and then add color on top. It also said to stay away from the mouth, eyes, and open wounds. Most importantly, I saw that the product is vet tested and approved, so I didn’t feel too bad spraying away!

Of course, my first attempt at coloring the Active Pack members had some hiccups, so I won’t count that and will skip to the second day of spraying. The dogs I had weren’t at all happy with the sound of the spray cans and refused to stay still. There was a lot of me running around the backyard giggling and screaming, “Stay still or your stripes won’t be straight!” I did the best I could.

Happy and Sissy in stripes (All pictures by Wendy Newell unless otherwise noted.)

Happy and Sissy in stripes (Photo by Wendy Newell)

The standout models were Sissy and her brother, Happy. My friends and I have nicknamed this duo Thing 1 and Thing 2 because they are mischievous and full of energy. It seemed logical that they would be my first guinea pigs. I really wanted to spray them to look like their nicknames, but I didn’t have that level of spray skills and the two of them refused to cooperate. Sissy ended up with blue and white stripes, while Happy sported red and white.

We headed out to Runyon Canyon, an off-leash dog park in Hollywood, California, after. To be honest, I was ready for some dog-owner hate. When it comes to their opinions, some dog owners can be very open and verbal! I imagined I’d get lots of negative comments about how I was hurting my dogs and how unkind it was for me to make them striped.

It turned out, there was no need for me to be fearful. Perhaps if we were hiking in a small town in Iowa, reactions would be different, but painted dogs in Hollywood aren’t the weirdest thing hikers have seen. Very few people even looked twice at the crazy duo, and those who did LOVED their look. I was stopped more than once to ask how I had done it and overheard kids tell their mom that they needed paint for their dog, too.

Mckenzie's winter design.

Mckenzie’s winter design. (Photo by Wendy Newell)

Showing off while stopping for a water break.

Showing off while stopping for a water break. (Photo by Wendy Newell)

Now that I had more courage, I decided to go all in. Besides paint, the PetPaint folks also sell stencils. They supplied us with a few basics, like paw prints and hearts, along with some winter specific designs such as snowflakes and candy canes. For our next day of painting, Riggins got in on the action, and I put a cute message of “LOVE” on his butt. Mckenzie, a yellow Lab, was part of the pack that day, and her short haircut and light fur made her the perfect model. She is also a little older and was happy to hold still while I covered her in red paw prints and blue snowflakes. Finally, sweet Asscher, a Golden Retriever, got covered in pink strips from head to toe.

Asscher in stripes.

Asscher in stripes. (Photo by Wendy Newell)

There was nowhere for Asscher to run. She was getting pink stripes!

There was nowhere for Asscher to run. She was getting pink stripes! (Photo by Wendy Newell)

This time, we headed to the dog park to turn a few heads. The pups loved the “oohs,” “aahs,” and giggles their looks got them. For a dog like Riggins, whose life goal it is to get as many humans as possible to pet him, the extra attention really caused him to strut around with extra confidence.

Riggins message of love on his butt (The "dandruff" look you see is actually a sparkle spray. It looked great in person.)

Riggins message of love on his butt. The “dandruff” look you see is actually a sparkle spray. It looked great in person. (Photo by Wendy Newell)

Love stencil.

“Love” stencil. (Photo by Wendy Newell)

Much like on our hike, we got zero negative comments about the product and all the feedback was very positive. When I posted pictures of the pups on my personal Facebook page, friends loved it and started thinking of ways they could use the furspray, like to get their pups into the action of supporting their team on football Sundays.

The parents of the dogs who got painted were thrilled when I sent them pictures of their colorful kids. Sissy and Happy’s mom decided she needed to buy paint for them to use at home, and Mckenzie’s mom showed off pictures of her winter-themed dog to coworkers at the out-of-town meeting she was attending. Asscher’s mom even took to Instagram to repost a picture of her sweet girl in all her pink-striped glory.

Stripes are the best!

Stripes are the best! (Photo by Wendy Newell)

What about cleanup, you ask? Well, if your dog is super active, then the paint won’t last longer than a day. During our hike, those pups whom I hadn’t used the setting spray on (an additional purchase that helps your paint designs last), had 80 percent of it wear off from running around in bushes and rolling on the ground. Those with setting spray had their paint easily washed off with water and some hand-scrubbing, and the few colors that wanted to stick around were gone after a quick shampoo.

It turns out the Active Pack loved PetPaint, and all agree it was a great way to show some extra style while out on the town.

Dogster Scorecard

Quality: The color is great although works best on short-haired, light-furred dogs.
Style: Nothing says style like a star on your dog’s hip. PetPaint is also safe for humans, so you and your pup can have matching hair designs!
Function: Riggins would prefer to get painted over wearing any kind of clothing.
Creativity: Use the stencils for some specific designs or go wild and let your inner Picasso out!
Value: Each color is $9.99, stencil sets are $4.99, and the setting spray comes in two sizes, for $14.99 and $24.99. It can get expensive if you start adding a lot of different colors, but just one or two color choices can get you a great head-turning look.

Bottom line

PetPaint isn’t a necessary item, but it sure is a fun one. If your pup and you are looking for a festive way to add color and attention to your walks or social gatherings, PetPaint is a great alternative to the traditional dog sweater!

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About the author: Wendy Newell is a former VP of Sales turned Grade A Dog Sitter. After years of stress, she decided to leave the world of “always be closing” to one of tail wags and licks. Wendy’s new career keeps her busy hiking, being a dog chauffeur, picking up poo, sacrificing her bed, and other fur-filled activities. Wendy and her dog, Riggins, take their always-changing pack of pups on adventures throughout the Los Angeles area, where they live together in a cozy, happy home. You can learn more about Wendy, Riggins, and their adventures on Facebook and Instagram.