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It’s not just colour to consider when decorating.

We may think carefully about what we are feeding our pets or which objects are OK in their environment however did you know that some domestic decorating products can be harmful to dogs and cats?

Repainting might seem like a harmless project but some traditional paints can contain chemicals that emit toxic gasses causing an adverse affect in pets. Heavy metals, solvents and volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) have known to be responsible for irritation to airways, eyes, and skin.  It’s not just the paint either.  Solvents, varnishes and stripping products can also be irritants, in extreme cases causing hair loss.

Not all paints will be labelled ‘pet safe’ but look for the absence of VOC’s, polyurethane, toluene, creosote formaldehyde and heavy metals. Choose paints with as little odour as possible.  Water based paints are generally the least irritating and wash up easier. Milk paints also offer a safe alternative.  Milk paints are made up of milk protein, casein, pigments and lime.  They don’t give off the fumes found with using a polyurethane paint.

You might imagine that ventilation while painting such as leaving doors and windows open will be enough to counteract the harm of fumes but they can still be released long after the paint is dry.  We all know how long a room can smell freshly painted and don’t forget that a dog’s sense of smell is far superior to ours.  If painting smaller furniture items, move them outside so additional fumes do not linger in the room.

Having younger dogs or a pup in the house can increase the likelihood of painted surfaces being licked or (in the case of furniture and door jams) chewed.  An eggshell or satin finish can help keep walls a little cleaner if you have dogs as they wipe clean more easily than a matt finish.

Toxic paints do tend to have a longer shelf life however they can also be harmful to humans with a sensitive constitution as well as pets.

Speak to your local paint supplies about alternatives to the traditional ‘fume emitting’ ingredients.  Discuss shelf life and the life of the paint once it is mixed.  If painting furniture check whether the paint will require sealing with a oil or wax.  Paint manufacturers should be able to provide answers to any questions you have so maybe you would prefer to contact them directly.

Leah & Angela OMeara

Hound Dog Day Care (Specialists in Dog Minding & Dog Boarding, Pet Sitting Brisbane & Doggy Day Care Brisbane)