A cafe in China has received serious backlash after featuring chow chow dogs painted as panda cubs.

The Cute Pet Games cafe, which opened last month in Chengdu in the southwest Sichuan province, features six fluffy chow chows dyed white and black.

The owner of the cafe, surnamed Huang, dyed each of the six dogs to look like China’s national animal — and they have since been the stars of the new pet cafe.

In addition to serving food and drink to customers, the shop also reportedly provides a pet dyeing service to owners who are interested in sprucing up their pooch.

However, this practice has caused a lot of concern for the animals’ welfare, with many critics claiming the dye could potentially damage the fur and skin of the dogs.

PETA senior vice-president Lisa Lange called the stunt “stressful” in a statement to Fox News.

“There are far better ways to show appreciation for pandas than by using sensitive dogs as dyeable decorative displays. Coating dogs with chemical dyes is stressful and can even cause allergic reactions on their skin, nose, and eyes,” she said.

PETA urges travellers to stay away from any business that exploits animals for a money-grabbing gimmick and social media “likes”.

Those on Twitter echoed the sentiment.

However, Huang has defended his practice, telling Hongxing News that his dogs were happy and healthy and he imports his dye from Japan, which is reportedly non-toxic to the animals.

“Every time we dye it costs 1500 yuan ($A211),” he says. “The dye is really expensive.”

Dyeing the coats of animals has become a popular trend in China since the early 2010s, BBC reports.

This article originally appeared on Fox News and was reproduced with permission