Is Acrylic Paint Pet Safe? [Painter’s Pet Safety Tips]

Yes, acrylic paint is pet safe if it’s labeled ‘non-toxic.’

Acrylic paint is water-based and is water-soluble when wet. Because it contains acrylic as a binder, it becomes water-resistant when dry. All non-toxic acrylic paints are pet safe.

Studies have shown that most acrylic paints are basically non-toxic and environmentally friendly. Therefore, they can be used safely on and around common household pets, such as cats and dogs, without posing any possible threat to their health.

You can also use acrylic paint on dogs and cats for paw painting. Some acrylic paints might even get on their furs. All these won’t cause any harm or pose any health risk to the pets as long as it’s external contact.

But not all acrylic paints are labeled non-toxic, some are toxic and require careful handling.

The good news is that it’s always indicated on the label if the acrylic paint is toxic or non-toxic. It’s always best to check the labels of your acrylic paint bottle to verify if it’s non-toxic or not.

More so, even if the acrylic paint isn’t toxic, the mode of application can be unsafe for pets. For instance, if you’re airbrushing or sanding acrylic paint, fine particles of acrylic paint will fly in the air.

is acrylic paint pet safe

If your pet inhales these particles, the acrylic paint will get trapped in their lungs and can pose a health risk.

If you’re airbrushing or sanding acrylic paint, do so in a well-ventilated environment. This becomes a safe activity for you and your pet.

Finally, I can’t guarantee the pet’s safety in case of ingestion. Being water-based paint, acrylic paint shouldn’t cause any harm to your pet if ingested in small quantities. Reports have also shown that acrylic paint is safe for cats and dogs to lick and eat in tiny amounts.

If acrylic paint is ingested in large amounts, pets may likely suffer from stomach upset, nausea, and/or diarrhea for some days. But the question is, how do you determine whether the quantity ingested is small or large?

To wrap it up, most acrylic paints are pet-safe, and dermal exposure should cause no harm. Although for some pets, acrylic paint may irritate their skin and mucous membranes, even at this, it shouldn’t pose any health risk. But you should be careful and not allow your pet to ingest acrylic paints.

If your pet finds acrylic paint so repulsive that it vomits, you should either keep your pet away from acrylic or visit a pet clinic.

Is Acrylic Paint Toxic to Pets?

Surprisingly, the answer to this question is yes and no as there is no single answer.

Yes, some acrylic paints are toxic, especially those containing hazardous pigments and ingredients like lead, chromium, cadmium, manganese, and cobalt. On the other hand, acrylic paints marked non-toxic on their labels are not toxic to pets. The ingredients and presence of toxins in acrylic paint determine whether it is toxic to pets or not.

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Mind you, all acrylic paints are water-based but bound by a plastic-based carrier. Based on these facts, some pets may find the ingredients in acrylic paints toxic to them while some may be unaffected by the ingredients.


Acrylic paint contains some chemical pigments and microplastics that are harmful to rabbits. This makes acrylic paint unsafe for rabbits. If rabbits chew acrylic paint, they will ingest these harmful ingredients and can get harmed.

If you keep a rabbit as a household pet, then exposure to acrylic paint is not advisable.

Due to its closeness to the ground, Rabbits gnaw on almost anything it’s close to and you can’t tell when it gnaws on acrylic painting.


Acrylic paints are not considered toxic for dogs only if it’s consumed in small amounts. If ingested in a large amount, acrylic paints can be toxic for dogs.

In such a case, the dog may experience health issues like diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, tremors, depression, and/or difficulty in breathing.

Dermal exposure is not toxic to dogs as acrylic paint can be easily washed off with water. This means that acrylic paints are safe for dog paws. But before you apply acrylic paint on the dog’s paw, carefully check out for any scratches or cuts.

If your dog likes to chew on things, it’s better not to bring it closer to acrylic paints to avoid any health issues.


Just like for dogs, acrylic paints shouldn’t be toxic for cats if it’s ingested in small amounts. However, I will advise that you give the cat some water to dilute the paint. This would prevent any incidence of stomach upset.

Ingesting large amounts of acrylic paint can be toxic for cats and this can lead to nausea and vomiting. In such a case, visit a pet doctor immediately. Dermal exposure is not lethal although it may trigger irritation of the skin and mucous membranes.

I recommend that you check for any cuts or scratches before applying acrylic paint to your cat’s paws.


Acrylic paint is not toxic to birds except those containing lead. Therefore, acrylic paints containing lead are toxic to birds and shouldn’t be used on or around birds.

Even non-toxic acrylic paints shouldn’t be used for painting birdhouses.

Since most birds peck at wood, they can inadvertently ingest acrylic paint in large amounts and this can harm them.

Other pets

Generally, dermal exposure to acrylic paints is not usually toxic to pets. Same way, ingesting acrylic paint in small amounts shouldn’t be toxic to any pets – although some slight irritations may occur. But ingesting in large amounts or exposure to wounds or open cuts can be toxic.

Hence, you need to give great attention and proper care to your pet before and during exposure to acrylic paint.

In summary, acrylic paint is toxic to Rats, Budgies, Bees, Cockatiels, Hamsters, Hummingbirds, Hedgehogs, Squirrels, Mice, and Tortoises.

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Acrylic paint is not toxic to Parrots, Guinea pigs, Reptiles, Rabbits, Lizards, Snakes, Bearded dragons, Bunnies, Chickens, Leopard geckos, and Snails.

How to Know If the Acrylic Paint Is Safe for Your Pet?

The first thing to do to know if acrylic paint is safe for your pet is to read the label on the container. That’s the first place to start from. Look at the label carefully to see if it states that the acrylic paint is “non-toxic.”

Also, check the list of ingredients to see if it contains any harmful pigments or substances that can be toxic to your kind of pet. Does your pet lick, gnaw, chew, eat, or swallow? Consider all these as you focus on keeping your pet safe.

Some acrylic paints are not labeled “non-toxic,” but don’t contain ingredients that can harm your pet. Whereas, some acrylic paints are labeled “non-toxic” and even claim to be void of VOC (volatile organic compounds) pigments, but they can be toxic to your pet.

Generally, acrylic paints containing lead, biocides, fungicides, acetone, ammonia, formaldehyde, chromium, cadmium, manganese, cobalt, and polyurethane are all unsafe for your pet. You should be very careful when handling such acrylic paints.

I’ll advise that you read the label carefully and use this to make a more informed decision about which acrylic paint is safe for your pet.

How to Clean Acrylic Paint from Pet’s Body?

Although it’s a rare occurrence, it’s possible to have acrylic paints on your pet’s body – either by accident or intentional painting. If this occurs, you need not panic as you can easily clean the acrylic paint off your pet’s body.

If the acrylic paint is still wet, you can easily remove it with warm soapy water and a sponge or washcloth – remember, acrylic paint is water-soluble when wet. If the acrylic paint is getting dry, you will have to rub some mineral or frying oil on the affected body part.

Wait for about 10 minutes for the acrylic paint to soften and loosen before giving your pet a good wash with mild soap and warm water.

If the acrylic paint persists on the body, try to use a comb or brush to scrub off the paint. In a tough case, you may need to trim off the fur or hair with scissors or clippers but do this carefully to avoid cutting the skin.

Cleaning acrylic paint from your pet’s body immediately won’t only make cleaning easier but can help prevent any occurrence of ingestion.

What Types of Paints Are Not Safe for Pets?

Any paint that isn’t marked non-toxic is not safe for pets. Any paint that contains heavy toxic metals or is not marked “VOC-free” or “low VOC” is considered unsafe for pets.

Any paint containing lead, biocides, fungicides, acetone, ammonia, formaldehyde, chromium, cadmium, manganese, cobalt, and polyurethane is not safe for your pet.

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Stay away from any of such paints. If your pet is exposed to these paints for too long, it can cause irritations, difficulty breathing, and/or dizziness.

Oil paints are also not safe for pets because they contain more VOCs (and chemical solvents) than acrylic paints.

VOCs evaporate quickly and release harmful toxins into the air – which can be dangerous for your pets to inhale.

If you want to use oil paints, do so in a well-ventilated area and make sure your pet is not in the same room with you.

What Should You Do If Your Pet Is Exposed to poisonous Paints?

The first thing you should do if your pet is exposed to poisonous paints is to take it to the vet immediately – don’t wait!

If you have the container of paint, please take it with you or at least write down the name and manufacturer. This will help the vet treat your pet better.

If your pet has been exposed to lead-based paint, the vet will likely give your pet a chelation therapy. This is a medical treatment that helps remove heavy metals from the body.

Your pet may also be given oxygen therapy if it’s having difficulty breathing. In severe cases, your pet may need to be hospitalized for observation.

How to Prevent Your Pet from Getting Into poisonous Paints?

The best way to prevent your pet from getting into poisonous paints is to keep all paint containers closed and out of reach. If you’re using paints, make sure to do so in a well-ventilated area where your pet can’t go.

It’s also important to clean up any paint spills immediately – before your pet has a chance to get into it.

If you have any leftover paints, make sure to dispose of them properly according to your local regulations.

Do not pour them down the drain as this can contaminate the water supply.

To be extra safe, you can also opt for pet-safe paints that are specifically made for use around pets. These paints are non-toxic and won’t harm your furry friend if they come into contact with it.


Acrylic paint is generally safe for pets if used in moderation. However, it’s important to keep all paint containers closed and out of reach to prevent your pet from getting into them.

If your pet does come into contact with acrylic paint, make sure to clean it off immediately. If you’re concerned about the safety of your pet, you can also opt for pet-safe paints that are specifically made for use around pets.

These paints are non-toxic and won’t harm your furry friend if they come into contact with it.

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