Many pet owners enjoy putting nail polish on their dog. It's a fun way to dress up your pet, and if you have a litter of puppies you need to tell apart, nail polish makes things easy. However, you'll eventually need to take the nail polish off, and that's where things can get tricky.
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Is nail polish toxic to dogs?
The ingredients in human nail polish and nail polish remover are often toxic to dogs. Human nail polish includes three chemicals (dibutylphthalate, toluene, and formaldehyde) that can irritate your dog's respiratory passages and potentially cause health issues if inhaled or ingested.
Don't use human nail polish on your pet because your dog could easily swallow the product when licking or chewing her paws. If human nail polish or nail polish remover is used on a dog, it's important to quickly and thoroughly wash off the product before the chemicals and fumes can harm the dog.
If your dog ingests a significant amount of nail polish remover (more than one or two licks), take her to the veterinarian immediately. Dogs aren't likely to vomit and won't show dramatic physical symptoms if nail polish is ingested. However, the substance does cause damage to their internal organs.
What type of nail polish on dogs is safe?
If you want to paint your dog's nails, purchase a nail polish that's made specifically for dogs. You can find these products at a pet store or online. Dog nail polishes are made with safe, natural ingredients. These nail polishes also dry quickly so that a wiggly dog doesn't have to sit still while the polish dries.
In addition to buying safe nail polish, you can buy plastic nail covers for your dog if you want him to have painted nails long term.
Use all-natural nail polish remover
Whether you're removing unsafe human nail polish or it's simply time to take off the dog-safe nail polish, you can purchase an all-natural nail polish remover to safely get the job done. Follow the instructions on the bottle or the package to remove the nail polish from your dog.
Typically, you'll need to wet a cotton ball with nail polish remover and then wipe away the nail polish using the cotton ball. Then, immediately wash the paw with dog shampoo and water. This is also a good opportunity to use dog nail clippers to give your dog's toenails a trim.
If the polish is on the dog's skin or hair, use a cotton ball with the least amount of remover possible to remove the polish. Avoid squeezing the cotton ball, which would cause the remover to saturate the hair and reach the skin. Immediately wash the area where the remover was used.
Alternative ways to remove nail polish on dogs
If your dog is patient and willing to sit still, you can use a small tool, like a dog nail grinder, to carefully chip away at the nail polish on each toenail until it has all come off.
Another way to remove nail polish from your dog's fur is to use dog toothpaste to scrub the area. You can also ask your groomer if she has any tips for a particularly stubborn bit of polish.