My Dog Ate Paint

What do I do if my dog or cat eats paint/varnish or inhales paint/varnish fumes? If you suspect that your pet has been exposed to paint or varnish, contact your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline, a 24/7 animal poison control center at 1-800-213-6680 immediately for treatment recommendations.

Paints May Be Poisonous

Paints used for homes, art, etc. can be dangerous to dogs if ingested. Some paints are water-based, such as latex, tempera, and paints used for posters, while other paints are solvent-based or oil-based. And if you live in an older building, it’s possible that the paint could include lead.

What Type of Paint Did Your Dog Eat?

This is an important question, as paint ingredients do vary, as noted in the last section. Let’s take a look:

  • Paints without lead: these tend to be safer and a little bit may cause your fur baby to have an upset tummy accompanied by diarrhea and vomiting. However, paints with a low concentration of glycols can be very dangerous if swallowed.
  • Water-based paints: may irritate your canine companion’s skin or mucous membranes (such as in his mouth or throat), but they’re not usually toxic. Even so, if your pup swallows a large amount of paint, he could develop nausea and vomiting.
  • Latex paints: most of these are non-toxic, however, if your fur baby eats a large amount of this type of paint if it contains glycol. In this case, the paint could cause trouble breathing, acidosis (too much acid), and crystals in your pup’s urine. Your fur baby could suffer kidney failure if he doesn’t receive treatment.
  • Oil-based paints: these may contain solvents that can cause lung issues if inhaled. If swallowed, they may cause diarrhea. If the paint contains heavy metals (lead, cadmium, etc.) your dog could become poisoned.
  • How Long After Painting Is It Safe for Dogs?

    Well, there’s no easy answer here.

    The truth is that every dog is different and they all have different tolerance levels for things like paint fumes.

    If you’re worried about how long after painting it will be safe for your dog to come out of hiding, there are a few things you can do:

  • Ask your vet if there’s anything specific that might cause problems for him/her—if so, try to avoid those things as much as possible (for example, if the vet tells you that ammonia bothers his/her nose, stay away from products with ammonia).
  • Pay close attention to any changes in behavior or appearance (like coughing), which could indicate that he/she isn’t feeling well from the fumes or chemicals in the paint.
  • I would recommend at least 48 hours to let the room dry off before letting my dogs in.


    Is paint harmful to dogs?

    The biggest danger of paint fumes for pets is lung inflammation. If your pet’s immune system is weak and the fumes are strong, the animal may develop pneumonia. The fumes from the solvents can irritate their respiratory system, and most often it begins with coughing or hacking.

    What do I do if my dog ate acrylic paint?

    If ingested, contact your local veterinarian or APCC right away. Most artist paints, like acrylic and oil paints, are fairly non-toxic, but some colors may contain unique pigments that may be a risk to pets. Always check the labels of your paint supplies to determine if they are non-toxic.