Canine face paint with whiskers

Using this round brush, fill in half of the bottom lip and the centre of the top lip. On the unpainted side of the lip, paint an oval or tongue shape.

Paint and Varnish Poison Alert for Dogs and Cats

Paints, varnishes, and stains are available in a wide variety of formulations, many of which are dangerous to dogs and cats.

Water-based paints include latex, acrylic, tempera, and poster paints. Oil-based paints are typically used where more durable coverage is required. Varnish and stains are wood sealants or pigments made from a combination of resins, oils, and solvents.

Why are paints and varnishes dangerous to dogs and cats?

Pets are naturally curious. They may walk through freshly painted or varnished areas and chew on or lick paint/varnish and supplies. If paint or varnish gets on the pet’s skin, fur, or paws, small amounts can be ingested while self-grooming. Inhalation of fumes may occur when pets are enclosed in poorly ventilated areas that have been recently painted/varnished or contain open containers of paint or varnish.

Lead-based paint is the most serious health concern in pets. Lead-based paints have been banned in the United States since 1978, but they are not regulated in all countries. Older buildings, painted products from non-regulated countries, and some oil-based artists’ paints may contain led. Ingestion of lead-based paint can cause gastrointestinal irritation, neurologic effects, and interfere with red blood cell production. Poisoning most commonly occurs when pets chew on surfaces containing lead-based paint or ingest flakes or chips of peeling paint. While a single ingestion of lead-based paint can result in poisoning, repeatedly ingesting dried paint is more likely to result in serious effects. Pets are often sentinels for lead exposure in the home. If a pet is diagnosed with lead poisoning, the humans in the household should likely be tested as well.

In most cases, water-based paints are unlikely to cause more than gastrointestinal upset or skin irritation. Some latex paints contain low concentrations of ethylene glycol (anti-freeze). Ingestion of very large amounts of these paints can cause gastrointestinal upset, neurologic signs and even kidney failure.

Oil-based paints and varnishes contain solvents that can be inhaled into the lungs and cause difficulty breathing. Vomiting and diarrhea are also commonly associated with the ingestion of oil-based paints.

All paints and varnishes have the potential to release fumes which can cause respiratory and eye irritation when present in poorly ventilated areas.

How much paint or varnish is poisonous to dogs and cats?

A small taste or touch of paint is unlikely to cause significant symptoms. Unless the paint contains heavy metals, it is rare that a pet would drink enough undiluted paint to cause serious poisoning. A chip of lead-based paint that is the size of a thumbnail can contain 50-200mg of lead. This is enough to cause poisoning in dogs that weight up to 20 pounds. Eating several chips of paint can easily poison a dog the size of a Labrador Retriever. Pregnant animals or young animals are at a greater risk for lead poisoning.

If you suspect that your pet has been exposed to paint or varnish, contact your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline, a 24/7 animal poison control center at 1-800-213-6680 immediately for treatment recommendations.

Never attempt to induce vomiting or administer medications to your pet unless specifically instructed to do so by your veterinarian. Attempting to induce vomiting may cause paint/varnish to be inhaled into the lungs, resulting in much more serious complications.

Rinsing your pet’s mouth with lukewarm water, encouraging your pet to drink water, or offering a small snack may be helpful to dilute the paint or varnish in the stomach and reduce the risk of stomach upset.

Paint/varnish on the skin or fur can be washed off with mild liquid dish soap or carefully trimmed with clippers. Scissors should not be used, because you risk cutting the skin. Never use paint thinners, mineral spirits, or other products on the skin without consulting your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline first. These products can cause severe skin irritation and pain. In most cases, leaving some paint on the fur is preferred to causing further injury.


This puppy dog face paint is super cute and easy, and can be a perfect costume for so many different occasions. This design may look complex initially but thanks to this guide, you’ll be able to perfect it in no time, with only a little bit of practice. This cute design can be a fun bonding activity to practice with family and friends, or the perfect design to use as a professional face painter.



Before starting your puppy dog face paint design, ensure you have all the necessary supplies.

  • A clean, well-lit workspace
  • A disposable surface to protect your workspace
  • A mirror for easy visibility
  • Smock or apron to protect your clothes
  • Disposable gloves for cleanliness
  • Black face paint
  • White face paint
  • Red face paint
  • Spouncer set
  • Face paint brush set OR
  • Starter face paint set You’re ready to begin when you’re sure you have all the necessary tools!



Begin by using a sponge loaded with white paint, and applying that in a upside-down triangular pattern on the forehead, along the bridge of the nose, and around the upper lip.

Using a sponge and black paint, dab on a patch around one of the eyes, and around the outer eye area of the other.


Colin Wynn
the authorColin Wynn

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