Most artists are animal lovers and since our beloved pets like to stick close to us, it’s easy to worry that they might chew on or eat something that they shouldn’t. So, is oil paint toxic to dogs? What can you do if they ingest some?
Oil paint is indeed very toxic to dogs and other animals. The pigments that make up your color contain heavy metals and depending on the color, this will be at varying degrees of toxicity. If your dog eats or even licks your oil paints, then you will want to get them to the vet immediately or contact Animal Poison Control at 888-426-4435.
In this article I’ll tell you a little more about oil paint toxicity and dogs so that you can have a better idea why they are so toxic and what you should do if your dog gets into your art supplies. Let’s start with it’s toxicity factors and we’ll go from there!
Is oil-based paint harmful to dogs?
Oil-based paint is definitely harmful to dogs and to humans as well. The solvents that you use with them, for instance, can cause lung damage if your pet is inhaling them, but the biggest danger comes from the pigments that create those lovely colors. Some are more toxic than others, with some highly toxic examples being barium yellow (which contains barium chromate), burnt umber (with manganese silicates and iron oxides), and even cadmium red (which has cadmium selenide).
Other favorites are only moderately toxic, such as cerulean blue (which contains cobalt stannate) and viridian (which has hydrated chromic oxide). You can find a more extensive list at this 3rd party site by clicking the link I’ve provided here.
Bottom line, these paints are dangerous to your dog, so it’s a good idea to put a ‘baby gate’ or other barrier in the doorway. That way your dog can watch but cannot get inside and access your supplies.
What if my dog licks oil paint?
If your dog licks oil paint, then at the very least they are going to experience gastrointestinal distress. Vomiting and diarrhea are likely, but with oil paints it can get worse. Those heavy metals that make up the pigments are very dangerous if ingested, and can actually cause kidney failure.
If your dog licks some oil paint, then you should drop what you are doing immediately and get them to the vet post-haste. If you have to wait for a ride, you can contact Animal Poison Control at 888-426-4435 and they can provide you with assistance over the phone to help you until you can get your dog to the vet.
On the bright side, a well-behaved dog will likely leave your paints alone and keep a distance if you tell them to, but if you suspect that they have gotten into your paints then it’s always best to err on the safe side – get them to the vet and get it checked out!
Is paint dangerous for dogs?
Oils are very dangerous for dogs and for humans if ingested, but not all paints are going to be as toxic as oil paints. Water-based paints, for instance, are going to be the least toxic for dogs but they can still be dangerous if ingested in large amounts. In small amounts, they will likely cause some irritation to your dog’s mucous membranes, and you can also expect diarrhea and vomiting.
Varnishes are poisonous and these should be stored out of reach. Aside from ingestion of the liquid itself, the fumes from varnish are bad for your dog’s lungs, so you’ll want to be sure to close the door in your art room if you’ve just varnished a work or to keep your dog at bay with a baby gate or another doggy-barrier.
Again, your pet will probably leave paints and varnishes alone, as their olfactory senses are much, much sharper than ours and they will likely detest the smell, but every now and again their curiosity can overcome them so be sure to keep an eye out if you are letting your dog watch you paint and be sure not to leave them alone with your supplies.
As long as they are supervised or kept out with a baby gate then you should be able to keep them out of your oils and varnishes.
Some final words
So, is oil paint toxic to dogs? Most definitely. The heavy metal content of the pigments has varying degrees of toxicity, so a lot will depend on the color that your dog ingests, but ANY ingestion or suspicion of such should be followed with a visit to the vet or a call to Animal Poison Control. These paints can be deadly if eaten, so you want to be sure to err on the safe side.
Until next time, paint safely, and we wish you and your four-legged friends the best!