The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Pet Safe Paint

Redbarn March 23, 2017

As responsible pet owners, we are always careful about what we feed our pets and what we let them play with, as we know some things can affect our pets differently as compared to humans.

While most of us know chocolate can be toxic and potentially fatal to our pets, did you know that some domestic decorating products, such as paints can be equally harmful to our furry friends? When redecorating your house, it’s important to keep your pet front of mind and choose pet-safe paint and varnishes.

The Dangers of Paint for Pets

While we might think repainting is quite a harmless thing to do, paints can have a detrimental effect on the health of our pets, which might not be visible until it is too late. The reason traditional paints are so dangerous to our pets is because of the mixture of toxic chemicals that they contain, including heavy metals, solvents, and VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds). These chemicals emit toxic gasses, which can affect pets in adverse ways.

While the full extent of the harm caused by these gasses is unknown, symptoms can include irritation to skin, eyes, and airways, causing pets to become dizzy, dazed, and in extreme cases, cause full body hair loss. Paints are not the only dangerous decorating products, varnishes, paint removers and white spirits can be just as dangerous.

While you might think that keeping windows and doors open will let these gasses escape, this is not always true. Pets are most at risk while paints are drying, but fumes can still be released by paints long after the paint has dried. The danger isn’t just limited to the inhalation of these gasses, as some pets may ingest these harmful chemicals by eating or licking these paints.


How to Find Pet Safe Paint Alternatives

When you are looking for a pet-safe alternative to paints, the best thing to do is to look for a paint that contains none (or fewer) of these harmful chemicals, making them safe to be used around pets.

While not all products will be branded as being a “pet safe paint”, you can identify which ones are by looking at their ingredients. Generally speaking, you will want to use a product that is water-based rather than solvent-based. One which is free from heavy metals and creosote and has either low or no VOCs.

It is a good idea to do some research to see what paints other pet owners have used before, without experiencing any issues. An example of this is the Earthborn Eco Paints which are not sold as being pet safe, however, they have been used by other pet owners without any harm coming to their pets.

Safety Tips For When You Cannot Use Pet Safe Paint

In some cases, you might not be able to avoid the use of these chemicals or find a pet-safe paint while decorating. If this is the case, there are some steps you should take to help limit the chances of your pets becoming ill.

Keep All Products Out of Reach

1) We all know our pets eat things they shouldn’t, so keep all products out of reach to stop them from accidentally ingesting them.

Keep Pets Out of the Room

2) If possible ask someone to look after your pets for the day, so they are out of the house while you are decorating.

If this isn’t possible, ensure the rooms you are painting are pet-free while you are painting and while the paint is drying.

Ensure the Room is Well Ventilated

3) Ensure the room is well ventilated, as this will help remove harmful gasses.

Paint Small Pieces of Furniture Outside

4) If you are painting (or varnishing) any small pieces of furniture like a table or chair, paint them outside if possible. This way any gasses released will go straight into the air and will not become trapped in your home.

Watch Your Pets

5) Keep an eye on your pets and if they become unwell or come down with any of the symptoms mentioned, contact your vet immediately.

Contact the Manufacturer

6) Finally, if you have any questions or concerns regarding the safety of a product around your pets, contact the manufacturers or suppliers who will be able to answer any question you may have.

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This post was written by guest contributor, Aedan Kiernan. Aedan is a Digital Marketing Executive for Wood Finishes Direct, who are the UK’s largest online supplier of wood finishes and treatments, including eco paints and wood products.

This post was originally published on Nov 12, 2015. We’ve since refreshed it because we’re constantly working to bring you the most up to date and relevant information about the health and safety of your pets.

All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and reflect the views of the authors alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of the organization. makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis. Please note that each situation is different, and you should always consult your veterinarian should you have any questions about your pet’s health.