Are Paint Fumes Bad for Dogs? (FAQs Answered)

Photo from Dogster

Yes, paint fumes are bad for dogs. Painting the walls is the cheapest way of transforming the interior of the house. But, as much as we want to, there are a lot of factors to consider if you have dogs around the house. The formulation of paint contains toxins that can harm the health of both animals and humans. Considering how dogs have a sensitive sense of smell, paint is not something you would want them close to. Inhaling the paint fumes or intaking them by accident is accompanied by serious health risks you would not want to go into. We have rounded up the frequently asked questions that worry you and your pets while you have the painting job done at home. 

How Do Fumes Affect Dogs?

Photo from Wag!

The formulation of paint is composed of solvents that produce fumes. This type of toxic is held harmful for the respiratory tract of the dogs. In addition, it can affect their visual and digestive organs too. Light exposure can just cause mild irritation. But, serious exposure can weaken the immune system of the dog and a high possibility of developing pneumonia. We want you to be well-acquainted with how fumes affect dogs. This way, you know the symptoms to look out for when having a painting job done at home. 

Difficulty Breathing

If a dog is exposed to paint for quite some time, we highly suggest checking the breathing of your dog. See if they are breathing normally or having a difficult time doing so. The toxicity of the fumes may narrow down their respiratory tract. It would serve your dog best to be monitored every now and then. When the breathing worsens over time, take your dog to the nearest veterinarian for immediate medical attention. 


When dogs feel dizzy, they cannot even manage to stand up. Their body weakens as if they are deteriorating. It would serve your dogs best to be hydrated from time to time. Have them immediately see a veterinarian for them to be free from the toxicity of the fumes. When the dogs start to be dizzy, they tend to walk and move slowly. If you think they are exposed to paint and fumes severely, there is no need to monitor. Instead, the dogs require immediate health care. 

Upset Stomach

When a dog has an upset stomach, they either throw up continuously or their appetite is depressed. It can be difficult to put things away for the dogs. Their curiosity can get out of hand at times. In cases when they lose their appetite or vomit continuously, we highly recommend hydrating and monitoring them before seeking a professional. If things get out of hand, seek medical attention to prevent worst-case scenarios that will further compromise the health of the dog. 


When exposed to paint fumes, dogs tend to exhibit involuntary, repetitive, and rhythmic muscle movements. They may look like they are shaking but it is something more than that. Once the tremors start, they are usually localized to one area. When the situation progresses, it can take up the entire body of the dog. Watch out for the signs that the dog is experiencing severe cases of intoxication from the paint fumes. 

How to Minimize Paint Fumes Exposure?

Photo from That Painter

When we purchase paint, we only look at the color and finish. We do not look at the ingredients. All everyone wants is to completely cover the walls without taking into consideration the contents of the paint. It is not as harmless as you think. Chemicals in the paint that is found to be toxic are Volatile Organic Compounds also known as VOCs. They are held accountable for the paint fumes causing headaches and breathing problems. We have rounded up tips on how to minimize the exposure of both humans and dogs to paint fumes. 

  • Select paints that are designed for interior use. Apart from the color, read the labels of the products together with the ingredients. Water-based paints are known to be less harmful types of paint with minimum to no VOC content. 
  • Read the paint’s safety label and product information. Check out the warnings on the label and see if there are necessary wearable protective equipment to use. In cases when the paint still has minimum VOC content, the respirator is highly suggested to lower the chances of inhalation. 
  • Open the windows in the painting area. Check the weather first to see if having the windows opened would be an option. Having a fan around would help too. Ensure that the direction of the airflow is towards the exterior portion of the house. 
  • Wait for two to three days for the room to breathe. This gives the fumes more time to exit the living room. Leaving the fans open for quite some time would help too. Ensure that the room is given time to breathe. Using the room only a day after the room is painted will only leave your and your dog’s health at risk. 
  • Ensure that all paint containers are tightly closed. This helps in preventing the vapor from leaking and dominating the space. You can also store them in a location that is not in high-traffic areas of the house. Place them in a box together with the equipment. 

How to Keep the Dogs Safe from Paint?

Photo from Tractive

As much as we want the dogs away from the painting area, it can be inevitable considering how fun and curious they are. They are part of the family. But, they are not as easy to instruct and to understand the way people do. We have rounded tips on how to keep our fur friends occupied while the job is done within the interior space of your home. This would be for the best of your furbaby’s health as well as yours. Check out the tips below that you can do to keep the dogs safe from the paint. 

  • Ensure that your pets are secured in a closed room distant from the painting area. Keep them occupied with their toys. At the same time, have a place for their water, food, and even their litter box to not be surprised by their waste. 
  • Secure your pets inside an outdoor kennel. This is suggested if the painting area is close to where they are sleeping or playing. Ensure that the location of their kennel is not directly exposed to the sun. 
  • Check them in an animal daycare. This may be quite expensive but it is the safest choice to have if the curing period of the paint will take longer than usual. 
  • Ask someone to watch your pets for you. This is a cheap option to have someone from your family or friends watch over your dogs up until the project is completed. 
  • Keep the pets out of the painting area for up to 72 hours. This ensures that the walls are completely dry preventing the dogs from making a mess of everything you have worked for. 
  • Maintain the air circulation of the space. Keep all fans and windows open. This will allow the fumes to exit the space and circulate fresh air throughout. 

How Long Do Paint Fumes Last? 

Photo from Zameen

As much as we want to immediately use the room after it is given a transformation, you have to wait for at least three days. Waiting for the paint to dry is one thing. But, allowing the walls to breathe is another. We want the fumes to subside to prevent compromising the health of you and your dogs. Dogs with health issues require an extra day to ensure that the space is completely free from fumes. After three days of curing, opt for fans, windows, and air purifiers instead of turning on the air-conditioning unit. We want to prevent the paint fumes from integrating the circulating air inside the house.