Painting Your Home with Pet-Friendly Paints

Dog walking on a red painted deck

If you’re planning to renovate your home and you share your house with pets, you’re going to want to give great consideration to products that are pet-friendly. Some solvents, chemicals, paints, and glues can be harmful for your pets, so it will be important to source materials that are non-toxic and able to stand up to a little wear and tear from a family that includes dogs or cats amongst its cherished members. If you’ve got a pooch or cat who thinks it’s fun to share in your redecorating efforts, it becomes even more critical to research what paints are non-toxic as paws are porous and prone to absorbing chemicals should your dog or cat step on a paint lid or even in your paint tray! Is it possible to find a paint that is safe for your pets?

The Facts About Paints

Many paints contain chemicals which are toxic to pets if they are inhaled or consumed. However, paints can also be comprised of what are known as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Volatile Organic Compounds are included in many different products that we use today including paints, cleaners, glues, craft supplies, air fresheners, and toners for photocopiers and printers. These Volatile Organic Compounds can cause damage to both pets and their owners via inhalation or contact with skin. Among the side effects those affected by VOCs might experience are:

  • Eye and throat irritation
  • Headaches
  • Feelings of dizziness
  • Difficulties with vision and memory

So, if traditional paints are not a good option for families with pets, what paints should you be looking for to keep your home pet-friendly?

Experts recommend making use of paints that are water-based and odor-free. Some of the main culprits in chemical intoxication of pets and people include toluene, formaldehyde, or polyurethane. Many paints will tout themselves as containing “zero VOCs.” These should also be avoided as any paint which contains one of the aforementioned chemicals is not VOC-free.

Since one of the largest dangers to pets is the fumes produced while paint is drying, the importance of avoiding paints with chemical properties that intensify during the drying process cannot be overstated.

What are the best paints for pet-friendly homes?

The leading advice today is to gravitate towards milk-based paints for families who share their home with pets. Instead of loading up on chemicals for the paint formulation, milk-based paints are comprised of pet safe compounds such as milk, lime, casein, and naturally occurring pigments. Traditional acrylic and latex paints make use of chemicals to allow the paint to remain shelf stable for longer periods of time. But it is these very chemicals that make the paint a problem for families with pets.

Milk-based paints have a lot to commend them. Most contain only items that are natural and could be found on your average dog walk through your neighborhood. They are non-toxic by design and fume-free. But just in case that wasn’t enough for you, you can feel good about buying and using milk paints because they are also eco-friendly. A product that is pet-safe AND that helps the environment? What could be better?

But there are some negatives to milk paint that must be considered as well. Milk paint has an exceptionally short shelf life, lasting sometimes only up to a day meaning you will need to paint fast to avoid congealing of the product! But in addition to this, milk paint comes in powdered form for you to mix to your desired specifications. To ensure a finish that will best stand up to dog and cat wear and tear, choose a matte or eggshell finish for your walls.

Milk paints are prone to staining when they come in contact with water. To protect any painted surface, you will need to purchase a wax or conditioner to apply to your walls to keep them looking pristine. Experts recommend applying three layers to your walls for best results: one layer of milk paint, one layer of an oil-based finish, and one layer of wax. This will help keep your walls from damaging and will also allow easy cleanup of stains or spills.

Two of the most highly recommended paints for people with pets are ECOS Pet Paints and The Real Milk Paint Co. ECOS Pet Paints is an award-winning paint available in several finishes with something sure to suit your family’s tastes and budget, for sure! ECOS Pet Paints offers you the opportunity to view their VOC scores to give you peace of mind that their paints truly are the safest on the market today for families with pets. ECOS Pet Paints are a water-based product. They dry quickly and are guaranteed to contain no odor. The company has 25 years of solid reviews to its credit, giving you the confidence that they truly have your pet’s best interests at heart.

The Real Milk Paint Co offers you an alternative to water-based paints with their milk paint. Guaranteed to be completely comprised of organic materials, The Real Milk Paint Co’s paints are 100 percent safe for use around pets. These paints are environmentally friendly and totally free from VOCs.

Safety Tips for Keeping Your Pet Safe While Painting

Whether you have selected a pet-friendly paint or not, it is always best to implement proper safety procedures to ensure no harm comes to your pets or your family. Here is a list of some of our top tips for pet-safe painting:

  • Product placement

Be sure to keep all paint containers, paint trays, and brushes well out of the reach of any of your pets. This will ensure your pet doesn’t accidentally step in something that could leach into its system, causing them potentially toxic side effects.

  • Remove pets from the area being painted

If your pets don’t have access to the area being painted, they can’t get into any trouble. Consider making use of a baby gate to bar your dog or cat off in a separate area of the house where they cannot be affected by paint fumes.

  • Keep the room well-ventilated

Keep a window open if you can. Getting a cross breeze into your room that can carry out any noxious fumes will be beneficial to you and to your pets. If you feel yourself getting lightheaded or dizzy, you need to leave the room and go somewhere where you can take in some fresh air right away.

Pet-friendly paint…does it even exist? It sure does! Consider trying one of our recommended pet-safe paints today!



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