The Hidden Dangers of Paint Fumes: How to Protect Your Pets and Your Family

From making your space aesthetically appealing and adding personality to protecting your walls from wear and tear and preserving your home’s structural integrity, a newly painted interior brings several benefits.

However, painting does come without some serious risks which cannot be overlooked.
Inhaling latex and oil-based paint fumes can become a significant health hazard due to volatile organic compounds (VOCs), a combined term for the various chemicals they contain which are released into the air.

There are many short and long-term health conditions paint can cause to humans and pets!

Nausea, Dizziness and Headaches

Orange red tabby cat male curled up sleeping tucked into a cream colored sweater
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

Some of the most common short-term reactions to extended paint exposure include headaches, dizziness, and nausea. Breathing in some fresh air outdoors for a few minutes can help get rid of these symptoms by clearing the bloodstream of these solvents.

Respiratory Issues

Little kitten being held by the vet while looking sick.
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

Inhaling paint fumes can be an irritant to your and your pet’s respiratory system, causing breathing difficulties, wheezing, and sinus infections.

Occupational exposure to paint and related products poses a risk of developing lung disease.

Eye Irritation

Tabby mitted cat scratching neck fleas
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

Paint fumes can irritate the eyes of humans and pets as they emit formaldehyde, xylene, and acetone. Direct contact with the eyes can lead to permanent damage if not washed off immediately, resulting in blindness.

Skin Inflammation

Funny cute little striped Scottish fold Kitten cat lying on white
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

Direct contact with paint and paint thinners can result in skin irritation or contact dermatitis, which typically manifests as redness, a burning sensation, rashes, blistered and peeling skin, and/ or itchiness.


Cute red haired kitten sleeping in hammock 1
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

Research reveals that the VOCs in paint, like propylene glycol, can trigger asthma, especially in children. Asthmatic children have a 10-fold risk of experiencing an attack due to paint exposure.
Accordingly, it is recommended to use zero-VOC or water-based paints if you have someone suffering from this condition in your home.


cute playful calico kitten hunt cat crouching lowered body studio
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

Paint is perhaps a lesser-known cause of cancer compared to other more prominent reasons like smoking. However, prolonged exposure to carcinogens found in paint, like benzene, can be the cause of various cancers, such as lung cancer.

Gastrointestinal Issues

small kitty sleeping in an orange pillow
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

Just like their human counterparts, paints can be poisonous for pets when ingested. Diarrhea and vomiting are common issues after consuming paint. Eating paint containing toxic substances like ethylene glycol can also cause lethargy, weakness, tremors, and seizures.

If you suspect your beloved pet has swallowed paint, rush it to a nearby wet to minimize the chances of any serious complications.

Fertility Issues

two cats licking finger of young female pet owner
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

Some evidence suggests that working with paint and paint products can have adverse effects on sperm count and quality in men, as well as low birth weight in children, due to glycol ether.

DNA Damage

Orange cat starring intently at the camera
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

Studies confirm that working with paint regularly can have genotoxic effects due to its harmful chemicals, particularly toluene and xylene. Paint and construction workers are at the highest risk of this.

Multiple Sclerosis

Green eyed kitten relaxing on cream carpet
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disorder that affects the brain and spinal cord. Amongst other risk factors, research finds that exposure to solvent-based paints increases the likelihood of developing the crippling disease by 50%, and those carrying genes of MS combined with exposure to toxic paints are seven more prone to acquire the condition.

Pregnancy Risks

Crazy cat look
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

While the association between paint fumes and pregnancy risks is not yet crystal clear, it doesn’t take much to be on the safer side for the sake of your precious new bundle of joy.

Some evidence reveals that solvent-based paints can enhance the risk of congenital anomalies and macrosomia, rendering it crucial to limit exposure during this period.

Nervous System and Organ Damage

cat in a pod
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

One of the major health implications of repeated, long-term inhalation of toxic solvents or carcinogens in paint is damage to the central nervous system and some vital organs of the body, including the kidney, liver, and brain.


small fluffy kitten in nature on a bokeh background
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

From short-term side effects to debilitating health outcomes in the long term, the hidden dangers of oil-based paints are too hard to ignore. Accordingly, protecting yourself and those around you from the toxicity of paint is vital.

That’s where safer alternatives like zero VOC and water-based paints come in. These non-toxic paints are designed to be safe for use as they do not contain virtually any harmful chemicals, allowing you to create a more inviting space without risking your and your loved ones’ health and well-being.

12 Things You Should Never Do to Your Cat

Young woman at home playing with her cat with open hand doing stop sign
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

We all have our dos’ and don’ts. Don’t we? Cats, too, have their dos’ and don’ts. As cat owners, understanding these boundaries is vital.

Here, we’ll explore 12 actions that should never be done to your cat.

Kitten Wonders: Discover the Charm of These 12 Irresistible Photos

Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

There’s something truly uplifting about a kitten. That newborn curiosity, the boundless energy (until it’s naptime), and the face that just looks like the picture of innocence…we really do struggle to resist their charms, don’t we? So why try?

Irresistible Kitten Pictures

Chatty Cats: 10 Talkative Cat Breeds that Love a Good Conversation

Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

Are you ready for a lively and engaging conversation with your feline friend? Some cats are known for their talkative nature.

If you are ready for a chat, read more here.

Kitten Cuties: 12 Adorable Photos That Will Make You Go “Aww”

Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

Discover the endearing magic in their delicate whiskers as these kittens explore their surroundings with curiosity, captivating us with their adorable expressions.

These little moments just capture our hearts.

Top Reasons Why Cats Follow Us to the Bathroom: Unraveling the Feline Fascination

Bearded man washing his hands in a bathroom with a calico cat standing on his back watching him wash his hands
Photo credit: Deposit Photos.

Cats have a peculiar habit of following us to the bathroom, turning what should be a private moment into a shared experience.

Let’s delve into the top reasons why they can’t seem to leave us alone.

Website | + posts

Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.