Residential Painting

3 Tips for Painting When You Have Pets

Posted on February 1, 2022

We want to keep our pets as safe as possible anytime we’re working around the house. This includes protecting animals from potentially harmful volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. These are compounds found in virtually all paints that are known to be harmful to humans and animals in large concentrations. Today, we will offer three tips to protect your pets when fresh painting is being done around the home.

Select the Correct Paint

When pets are around, paint tends to take a beating. When painting households with pets, the professionals start by selecting a paint that is non-toxic and friendly to pets. To make the paint easier to clean, specialty paints are available that not only wipe clean easily but often include antifungal chemicals that combat mold and mildew as well.
These paints will usually be low-VOC or zero-VOC paints that are latex-based and often contain primer as well. Because the paints emit little to no fumes, these paints are generally safe for pets, although some birds are especially sensitive to fumes. For bird owners, it is recommended to relocate the bird for a couple of days, even when using these paints. Low VOC and zero VOC paints actually still contain trace amounts of VOCs, just not enough to injure humans.

Keep Pets Safe

Often, when we discuss keeping animals safe from paint, we are mostly worried about VOCs. However, many times our pets (especially dogs and cats) are left to roam freely, which can put them at risk of poisoning when open paint cans are reachable. Most latex paints are relatively non-toxic, but some can be poisonous if ingested. To be safe, pets should be confined to safe areas while the painting is being done, and remain there until any harmful VOCs have dissipated.

Avoid Using Oil Based Enamel Paint

Oil-based paints have the most VOCs of any paint, but these paints are very popular for use on trim work. Trim tends to take the most abuse, so oil-based enamels are often used to make the trim more durable and easier to clean. However, oil-based enamels should be avoided in homes with pets if possible and replaced with non-toxic latex versions. Ideally, zero-VOC paints are used, but any latex paint will be safer than oil-based enamel where pets are concerned. These modern latex paints have the durability and longevity of enamels, without many of the side effects.