By Renee Schmid, DVM & Ahna Brutlag, DVM, MS, DABT, DABVT Pet poison Helpline; Dr. Colleen M. Almgren, DVM, PhD, Pet poison Helpline.

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What space paints and also varnishes?

Paints, varnishes, and stains are available in a wide range of formulations, many of which room dangerous come dogs and also cats.

Water-based paints incorporate latex, acrylic, tempera, and also poster paints. Oil-based paints are frequently used where much more durable coverage is required. Varnish and stains room wood sealants or pigments do from a combination of resins, oils, and solvents.

Why are paints and also varnishes dangerous come dogs and cats?

Pets are normally curious. They may walk through freshly painted or varnished areas and chew on or lick paint/varnish and also supplies. If paint or varnish it s okay on the pet"s skin, fur, or paws, tiny amounts can be ingested if self-grooming. Inhalation of fumes may happen when pets space enclosed in poorly ventilated areas that have actually been freshly painted/varnished or contain open containers of repaint or varnish.

Lead-based repaint is the most serious health concern in pets. Lead-based paints have actually been banned in the joined States because 1978, but they space not regulation in every countries. Larger buildings, painted products from non-regulated countries, and some oil-based artists" paints may contain led. Gulp down of lead-based repaint can cause gastrointestinal irritation, neurologic effects, and interfere v red blood cabinet production. Poisoning most frequently occurs when pets chew on surfaces containing lead-based repaint or ingest flakes or chips of skin paint. When a single ingestion the lead-based repaint can an outcome in poisoning, repeatedly ingesting dried repaint is an ext likely to an outcome in serious effects. Pets are frequently sentinels because that lead exposure in the home. If a pets is diagnosed through lead poisoning, the human beings in the family members should most likely be tested as well.

In many cases, water-based paints space unlikely come cause much more than gastrointestinal uncomfortable or skin irritation. Some latex paints contain short concentrations of ethylene glycol (anti-freeze). Ingestion of very big amounts of these paints can reason gastrointestinal upset, neurologic signs and also even kidney failure.

Oil-based paints and varnishes save on computer solvents that deserve to be inhaled into the lungs and cause an obstacle breathing. Vomiting and also diarrhea are likewise commonly connected with the ingestion of oil-based paints.

All paints and also varnishes have actually the potential to release fumes i beg your pardon can cause respiratory and also eye wake up when present in poorly ventilated areas.

How much paint or varnish is poisonous to dogs and also cats?

A tiny taste or touch of repaint is i can not qualify to cause far-reaching symptoms. Unless the paint has heavy metals, the is rare the a pet would certainly drink enough undiluted repaint to cause serious poisoning. A chip of lead-based repaint that is the dimension of a thumbnail can contain 50-200mg that lead. This is enough to reason poisoning in dogs that weight up to 20 pounds. Eating numerous chips of paint can quickly poison a dog the dimension of a Labrador Retriever. Pregnant pets or young animals are in ~ a higher risk because that lead poisoning.

What execute I do if my dog or cat eats paint/varnish or inhales paint/varnish fumes?

If you doubt that your pet has been exposed to paint or varnish, contact your vet or Pet toxicity Helpline, a 24/7 pet poison control center at 1-800-213-6680 instantly for therapy recommendations.

Never attempt to induce vomiting or provide medications to her pet unless particularly instructed to execute so by your veterinarian. Attempting to induce vomiting may cause paint/varnish to be inhaled into the lungs, leading to much more serious complications.

Rinsing your pet’s mouth v lukewarm water, encouraging her pet to drink water, or providing a small snack may be beneficial to dilute the paint or varnish in the stomach and also reduce the risk of stomach upset.

Paint/varnish on the skin or hair can it is in washed off with mild liquid dish soap or very closely trimmed through clippers. Scissors must not be used, since you hazard cutting the skin. Never ever use repaint thinners, mineral spirits, or other commodities on the skin without consulting her veterinarian or Pet toxicity Helpline first. These commodities can cause severe skin irritation and pain. In many cases, leaving some paint on the fur is wanted to causing more injury.

What room the indications of repaint poisoning in a dog or cat?

Signs that toxicity depend upon the type of paint or varnish ingested. The most usual signs are vomiting, diarrhea, depression, and lack that appetite. If repaint or varnish is aspirated right into the lungs, pets may construct fast or labored breathing and also a purple or blue shade to the gums.

With very huge ingestions of ethylene glycol-containing paints, pet may develop lethargy, incoordination, and tremors they may likewise stop eating, drink more or much less than usual, and also have enhanced or lessened urination. However, the ethylene glycol concentration of these types of paints is typically quite low and ingesting a toxic amount would be rare.

Pets that ingest lead-based paints may have actually vomiting, diarrhea, absence of appetite, a drunken gait, tremors, seizures, blindness, weakness, pale gums, enhanced heart rate, and an obstacle breathing.

How will certainly my vet diagnose paint poisoning?

Most cases are diagnosed in pets that have actually the intended signs and also a known or suspected exposure to paint or varnish. Chest radiographs may be required to watch for evidence of paint or varnish aspiration right into the lungs. Ab radiographs come look because that lead in the stomach and intestines might be recommended. Blood work may be carry out to advice kidney function, assess red blood cells, or recognize lead levels.

Is over there an antidote for paint toxicity in pets?

An antidote for most paint and varnish gulp down is not accessible or necessary. If command poisoning occurs because of paint ingestion, drugs called chelating agents deserve to be offered to tie the lead and allow it come be removed from the body. In the rare situation that enough paint to be ingested to reason ethylene glycol poisoning, early on treatment with a drug dubbed fomepizole or ethanol have the right to prevent damages to the kidneys.

How must an pet with repaint exposure or poisoning be treated?

Treatment for paint exposure counts upon the type and quantity of paint ingested.

Induction that vomiting complying with ingestion of paint and/or varnish is no recommended. Vomiting increases the possibility that paint have the right to be inhaled right into the lungs and cause difficulty breathing.

Pets that build vomiting or diarrhea are regularly treated with fluids under the skin, anti-nausea medication, probiotics, or gastrointestinal protectants. If severe gastrointestinal or respiratory indicators occur, hospitalization through intravenous (IV) fluids, antibiotics, and/or oxygen supplements might be necessary.

In the rare situation that sufficient paint to be ingested to reason ethylene glycol poisoning, hospitalization will certainly be needed. Therapies often encompass intravenous fluids, ethanol or fomepizole, dextrose supplementation, and monitoring the blood job-related to assess kidney function.

Treatment for lead poisoning counts upon the indications that develop. Intravenous fluids, anti-nausea medication, gastrointestinal protectants, muscle relaxants and medications to control seizures may be used. Medicine to tie lead and allow its removal native the body (chelating agents) are regularly necessary.

Can pets recuperate from paint poisoning?

Full recovery is expected adhering to most paint or varnish exposures. Pet that construct lead poisoning or ingest ethylene glycol- include paint might develop more serious complications. Even in these cases, the outlook for complete recovery is great with early on treatment. Delayed treatment can reason long-term body organ damage and also even death.

How have the right to paint or varnish poisoning be prevented?

Store paint and varnish products in closed containers out of the pet’s reach. Execute not leaving paint/varnish or item coated v wet paint/varnish whereby unattended pets space present. Curious pet may discover containers and painting supplies. It is not unusual for pets come chew v closed containers or chew on paint brushes and other paint supplies. Save in mind the pets can acquire on counters or punch items turn off counters and also tables. Execute not assume a pet will stop eating the paint/varnish just because it has a poor taste. If paint or varnish is spilled, confine all pets in another area the the house until the product has been cleaned up. Guarantee the area where the paint/varnish was provided is well ventilated and odor-free former to permitting pets ago into the area. Pay close attention to curious young animals and also especially cat who can jump and climb on higher surfaces. Residence remodeling may expose lead-based repaint dust and chips the these pets find irresistible to ingest.

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Prevention of lead poisoning from paint requires careful attention come the house environment. In enlarge homes, be sure to remove any loosened paint, paint, chips or repaint dust from locations to i beg your pardon the pet will be exposed. Home test kits to assess for lead repaint are available. If lead paint is detected, take into consideration a certified threat assessment to identify whether properly maintaining the repaint in location or complete removal that the lead-based paint is many appropriate. Remove of lead-based paint need to not be attempted without proper training and protection.


Pet poison Helpline, an animal poison control center based out of Minneapolis, MN is obtainable 24/7 because that pet owners and also veterinary specialists that require assistance treating a perhaps poisoned pet. The staff offers treatment advice for poisoning situations of all species, consisting of dogs, cats, birds, tiny mammals, huge animals and exotic species. As the most cost-effective option for pet poison manage care, Pet toxicity Helpline’s dues of $65 every incident consists of follow-up consultations for the duration of the poison case. Pet toxicity Helpline is easily accessible in phibìc America by call 800-213-6680. Added information can be discovered online at