Our cat (DMH) came home with a heavy coat of dried paint on one of his paws. It looks like he must have stepped in a roller pan or something like that. I'm pretty sure it is an oil based paint as there is still a strong solvent smell.

So far we've tried vegetable oil, which doesn't seem to touch it, cutting the paint with (rather wimpy) clippers, and also with scissors. The paint is well on its way to drying, and it is hard to cut – so we're worried about cutting him (or getting shredded by him).

Wondering if there are ways to safely remove the paint, if it needs to be removed, and if a trip to the emergency vet is in order?

  • I'm guessing that it is modern paint – I'm in the US, but we don't know where he got into it. I'm more worried that there is a lot of it. It pretty much saturated one hind foot. He seems quite unhappy about it…
    – dlu
    Feb 13, 2016 at 20:35

2 Answers 2


In the United States (as you are per your comment) the most significant health concern with modern paints is Volatile organic compound (VOC) in short these are the things in paint, that evaperate so the paint goes from being a liquid to a solid.

In the US there is a current trend to lower and/or eliminate the VOCs as well ref1, ref2. Lead paint has been banned in the US since 1977

As the paint is already dried, your cat is not subject to any additional health risks, while he is "wearing" the dry paint. using solvents to remove it will introduce more VOC's, which would not be good. You don't need to go to the emergency room to have the paint removed. BUT do keep on eye on things, It is going to be annoying and he may cause injury to himself (or may not) trying to remove the paint. If he does then take him to the vet.


Perhaps a good groomer would know what to do. The danger to your dog is that he might try to chew it off. and as in answer 1, any harm might come from what type of paint was used. However, I have 2 ideas. You might try a bath with a Doggy shampoo first. If that does not work I have another solution. I repair antique dolls, make handbags and jewelry. There is a gentle paint remover that keeps my hands, arms, and my expensive sable brushes clean without harm even with dry paint. I purchase from a company called Dollsapart online. I used to purchase it at Michaels, but prefer online. Be sure to test it in a small area first.

I was a bit curious about where your dog got this paint. There may be some construction going on nearby, and perhaps you could find the red paint guy or gal and ask them politely to help by keeping the paint in an area not easily accessible by pets.

  • 1
    The question is about a cat actually.
    – SerenaT
    Feb 5, 2021 at 12:41

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