Guest Blogger: Aedan Kiernan
As pet owners we are all very careful about the food and toys we give to our pets, and what we do around them, which could be detrimental to their health. We are all aware of the dangers of things like chocolate, not many pet owners are aware of health implications that domestic decorating products like paints can have on our furry friends.
The Danger of Paints
Paint might not seem like the most dangerous household substances, but some domestic paints can have serious implications on the health and wellbeing of our pets. These paints are so harmful due to the harsh chemicals that they contain, which includes solvents, heavy metals and VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds). These chemicals release gases which can cause serious harm to our pets when they are inhaled. Although these gases are most potent while paints are drying, fumes can still be released long after the paint has dried. While the full extent of the damage caused by these chemicals is unknown, symptoms include dizziness, irritation to skin, eyes and air ways and in extreme cases full bodily hair loss.
Paints are not the only decorating product which can cause harm to our pets. Some other hazardous products include varnishes, paint removers and white spirits. The dangers are not just limited to inhalation of these gases and pets can suffer from the same symptoms if they ingest paints or other decorating products.
Pet Safe Alternative
There are pet friendly alternatives to normal domestic paints, which can be used without fear of jeopardising the health of your pets. While not all paint are branded as being pet safe, you will be able to identify which ones are safe by looking at the ingredients. You will want to use paints which are water based instead of solvent, free from heavy metals and creosote and have either low or no VOC’s. If you are still uncertain whether a paint is pet safe or not, do some research as you may find someone who has used it before and can give you their advice. For example Earthborn Clay and Eggshell paint are not sold as being pet friendly, but many people have used them before without any harm coming to their pets.
If Nothing Can Be Done
It might not always be possible to use a pet safe alternative and if this is case you should take some extra measure to help reduce the possibility of any harm coming to your pets.
- Make sure any products used are kept out of the way, so there is no chance of pets accidentally ingesting them.
- Ask a friend or a family member to look after your pets for the day, so they are out of the house. The harmful fumes are strongest whilst the paint is wet and drying and this will help keep them out of harm’s way. If this isn’t possible keep pets out of the way and minimise any direct contact with wet paint.
- Ensure the room being painted is as well ventilated as possible, as this will help to remove as many of the lingering gases as possible.
- If you are painting small pieces for furniture, try painting them outside in order to prevent gases getting trapped inside your home.
- Keep an eye on how your pets are behaving and if they start acting strangely, or you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above contact your vet immediately.
- If you have any questions or concerns about a product, contact either the manufacturers or suppliers, as they will be able to advise you on whether a product is pet safe or not.
Aedan Kiernan is a Digital Marketing Executive for Wood Finishes Direct, who are the UK’s largest online supplier of wood finishes and treatments, including eco paints and wood products.