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Can You Use Nail Polish on Dogs?

dog paws with nails painted yellow

Nail polish isn’t just for humans. Dogs can wear nail polish, too, if it is a nail polish safe for dogs. It’s a fun way to give your dog a unique look and feel special.

To some women, their fingernails do not look that great with the standard color everyone has on their nails. They like to paint those fingers and toenails up to add a little color to their hands and overall look.

The same mentality is used when dog owners look at their dog’s toenails and see the same bland color. They want to put nail polish on those nails and make their dogs look prettier.

Is Human Nail Polish Safe for Dogs?

While there are many dog grooming services around the world that offer this service, and human nail polish does go on dog toenails just fine, it is not a smart thing to do.

All you have to do is read the labels on the human nail polish to find out why this is not a good idea or even safe for dogs. The ingredients in human nail polish are very toxic to canines

This includes the so-called ‘safe’ baby polish some mothers put on their tiny children. There are 3 main ingredients that make this idea unsafe for dogs to wear human nail polish:

1. Dibutyl Phthalate- It is used in more products than nail polish and if your dog licks the polish it can gag, throw up, and be poisoned.

2. Toluene- This is a pet poison, and your dog only has to breathe the odor to be sick.

3. Formaldehyde- It is still being used today and it can cause cancer in your pet.

It is best to avoid placing human nail polish on dogs as they will eventually lick their paws and get some of the polish in their system.

What Kind of Nail Polish Is Safe For Dogs?

Green, light blue, dark blue, light pink, dark pink, and red nail polish bottles each laying on color coordinated paper, side by side

We have ruled out any human nail polish whether it is for adults or small children. However, there are some companies making safe dog nail polish. This is a product that is supposed to be formulated for your dog’s nails.

There are different brands that make this product in brush or pen formats. They are supposed to be non-toxic, quick-drying, and easy to remove. You should be able to find these products at your favorite groomers or your favorite pet store.

Most likely, the larger pet stores will have a better selection of these nail polishes for dogs. Then they come in different colors so you could basically match your dog’s toenails with your own.

They can be easily removed with some brands just needing a wet cloth to remove the polish. Don’t expect the nail polish to come in the same wide variety of colors that human nail polish does. It is a limited selection.

How Do You Make Dog Nail Polish?

Variety of colored nail polish spilled on a white background

If you are going to copy the commercial products already on the market you would need a solvent, colorants, gel base, and preservatives. The trick would be to find the right combination of each ingredient to make your dog polish just like a store-bought one.

We found no recipe when looking up homemade dog polish. All the information that came up was talking about commercial dog polishes and how those are made (without specifics).

You may be able to create your own using acrylic and gel, but it would be hit and miss.

Need to know how to cut puppy nails when they are scared? Click here to find out.

Dog Polish Tips

Woman painting a dogs nails red

1. When you buy those commercial products, you need to make sure your dog’s nails are healthy before applying the polish. So inspect your nails and if you are not sure if they are healthy or not, ask your groomer or vet for help.

2. If they need it, trim those nails first but do not cut them too short as you will see blood and possibly hurt your pet.

3. Don’t forget to trim the fur around your dog’s paws and nails. Hair can get in the way and mess up your designs.

4. Dogs usually do not like having their paws touched. But you can change that attitude by giving your pet rewards when you are touching their paws.

5. Paint their nails when your pet is tired or relaxed. This will help keep them nice and still while you do your work.

6. Give those painted nails time to dry before letting your dog go back to their normal activities.

Some Final Words

Close up of a dog's paws and nails

When you want your dog to look as good as you, you can try painting their nails. Just do not use your favorite colors or brands. Human nail polish is toxic to dogs and not safe to use.

Instead, make a trip to your local pet store and see what colors of dog nail polish they have on sale, and pick the one that attracts you. That is the safest way to paint your dog’s nails.

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Please note: We are not veterinarians and you use our advice at your own discretion. We always recommend that you consult your veterinarian whenever you have health-related conditions your furbaby is facing. With that in mind, as pet parents ourselves, we wish nothing but the best for your pet and their healthy and happy lives.