Water-based paints, also known as latex paints, are considered less toxic than their oil-based counterparts. But that doesn't mean water-based paint is completely safe for your pup -- it still contains some chemicals that can be harmful to him. When you're painting, keep your dog away from your open paint cans, so he doesn't decide to taste their contents, and out of the area you're painting in general.
Latex paint contains water, resins, pigments and additives, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation website. While the water, resins and pigments in the paint are considered relatively safe for use around dogs, additives like preservatives and biocides can vary -- so it's best to keep them away from Fido. According to the July 2004 issue of "Veterinary Technician," if your pup ingests small amounts of latex paints, he should be okay but may experience some gastrointestinal upset. Water-based artist's paints, though, can contain heavy metals, the article warns, so it's best to store any of your art supplies away from where your pup can get to them.
While drying, latex paint can emit formaldehyde, a type of toxic gas, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency advises. The EPA recommends keeping formaldehyde away from both people and pets. This volatile organic compound is particularly harmful to our sensitive canine companions, warns the Dogster website. VOCs, including formaldehyde, can cause dizziness, breathing problems and vomiting, according to petMD. For his safety, keep Fido out of the area you're painting while the paint dries; board him at a friend's home if necessary. Open all windows in the area to properly ventilate the space and run a box fan in the room, facing toward an open window, to drive the fumes out for about 48 hours after painting.
Consult your vet if you suspect Fido's ingested any paint, especially if he's eaten a large amount of it. The vet may want to induce vomiting to get the paint out of his tummy and provide supportive care for any gastrointestinal upset that he experiences from the ingestion of paint. If you're unsure what kind of paint Fido has ingested, mix a little with water. Water-based paint should disperse in the water, while oil-based won't. If it turns out that Fido's eaten oil-based paint, get him to the vet right aw,ay because this type of paint is toxic to dogs.
Dogs are curious. An open paint can may tempt Fido to take a taste. Keep all paint cans sealed to prevent your pup from getting to the paint inside. Place brushes, rollers, trays and other painting supplies out of your pup's reach. If Fido gets any paint on his fur, don't use harsh chemicals to remove it, which could burn his skin. Instead, wash wet paint away with soap and water or scrape away dry paint with a brush and shave whatever fur remains soiled. When removing any old paint from your home, keep those paint chips away from Fido; older paint could contain toxins like lead or mercury.
- New York State Department of Environmental Conservation: Household Hazardous Waste
- Veterinary Technician: The Hidden Dangers of Home Repair
- United States Environmental Protection Agency: Latex Paint
- United States Environmental Protection Agency: An Introduction to Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)
- Dogster: Six Household Products That Are Not Dog Safe
- Animal Emergency Center: Toxic Substances
- petMD: A Cleaner, Greener Home for You and Your Pet
- Petco: Chemical Poisons
- New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services: Identification and Disposal
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