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How To Make Dog-safe Nail Polish

↯ Key takeaway points

  • Dog manicures are now common at pet salons.
  • Dog nail polish brands like Warren London's Pawdicure, Lesotc, and Puppy Paint are safe and pet-friendly options.
  • Using human nail polish on dogs is not safe due to the toxic chemicals present.
  • Dog nail polish is specially formulated for dogs and lacks harmful chemicals found in human products.
  • Applying dog nail polish should be done carefully, with a base coat and gentle application, and can be a bonding experience with your dog.
A pet lover passionate about educating readers about animal health and care. Love reading studies and recent research.
Gold medalist veterinary student from UVAS Lahore writes captivating articles and is passionate about animal care.
Published on
Tuesday 5 March 2024
Last updated on
Monday 30 October 2023
How To Make Dog-safe Nail Polish
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Dog manicures are now typical at pet salons. Whether you want to give your dog a new look or enjoy their nails to match yours, it’s easy to get on this trend. DIY dog nail care often involves using human nail polish, which can be tempting if you want to save money. However, is it safe?

How to Make Nail Polish for Dogs

Special dog nail polish is a must when painting your dog’s nails. Dogs should not lick human nail polish because of its toxic chemicals. Warren London’s Pawdicure, Lesotc, and Puppy Paint are just three examples of pet-friendly nail polish brands. Groomers have been polishing puppies’ nails for years, but innovations have made it possible for owners to do the same at home.

Warren London nail polish contains no harmful ingredients. It is an entirely odorless water-based polish. The best part is that it only takes 40 seconds to dry. This polish comes in the form of a pen. The felt tip efficiently and cleanly applies the polish to your dog’s nails—no need to worry about getting the polish all over yourself. 

Lesotc nail polishes are another option if you are concerned about the toxicity of conventional nail polish. It is a water-based polish that is simple and even simpler to remove. When the polish has thoroughly dried, it can last for up to 30 days. However, you do not have to wait 30 days to make changes. Simply clean the nail with a damp cloth. No polish remover is required.

Dog owners who want a pawdicure on the traditional side can use Puppy Paint. The product is environmentally friendly and hypoallergenic for dogs with sensitivities. It has a naturally bitter flavor that discourages licking, which could lead to ruined paw painting.

Can You Use Human Nail Polish on Dogs?

Unfortunately, canine use of human nail polish is not possible due to the formulation of human nail polish. Suppose you look at the list of ingredients on your go-to nail polish shade. In that case, you will likely notice many potentially harmful toxins.

Humans can use regular nail polish without worry because we know better than ingesting it. But that is not an instinct that dogs have. The ingredients in human nail polish are the root of the problem. Even baby nail polishes marketed as “safe” will not be appropriate.

This product contains three ingredients that are especially harmful to dogs. These chemicals can affect dogs by penetrating their nail beds or any cuts or sores on their paws, and if they lick their paws, they may cause internal harm.

Sometimes the fumes are strong enough that simply sniffing the polish can get you high or cause harm. In the short term, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, and loss of appetite could result from eating the nail polish or any other way it could enter the bloodstream. They could also cause seizures or poison the dog.

Can nail polish kill? Not immediately, but over time, the chemicals, particularly formaldehyde in nail polish, can cause cancer in dogs.

Here are the three ingredients to avoid when making dog-safe nail polish:

Dibutyl Phthalate

Phthalates are known to have various adverse health effects in humans and animals. DBP, or dibutyl phthalate, is used to keep polish flexible. Although DBP is not particularly toxic, a study reveals that it can cause severe symptoms like excessive drooling, gagging, and retching.DBP can also cause skin and eye irritation, resulting in redness and a burning/stinging sensation.


The chemical formaldehyde has a variety of uses, including in particle board, embalming, and preservatives. Nail polish uses it as a hardener. As a carcinogen, it poses a threat to both people and animals. This typically occurs after prolonged contact. It is harmful if ingested or even touched. Environmental Protection Agency reports that formaldehyde can cause animal cancer.


Toulene is added to nail polish to make it smoother. According to research, this chemical can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, and eye irritation. It can also cause congenital disabilities and learning delays in children exposed to the chemical during pregnancy.

According to experts, a dog exposed to dried polish on their owner’s nails poses little risk. However, the toxicity of eating nail polish is unknown.

What’s the Difference Between Human and Dog Nail Polish? 

Like other dog products, dog nail polish is designed with dogs in mind. Since humans did not make it, it lacks the potentially dangerous chemicals in goods made for us. It has beneficial ingredients like aloe vera and vitamin E and works in harmony with your dog’s body.

The lack of chemicals also means that most of them lack that characteristically harsh lacquer odor. To keep your dog comfortable, apply dog nail polish in a well-ventilated area. Compared to human products, the smell of some polishes is minimal at best.

The drying time of dog nail polish is significantly longer than that of human nail polish. To harden, regular nail polish needs constant exposure to air and light. A gel-based product requires direct exposure to UV light to achieve any hardness.

Dog nail polish does not require you to wait hours while it dries. Nail painting for your dog should be a quick and painless process. These polishes are designed to dry in the open air for a shorter time. Therefore, your dog can move on with their day without any lasting adverse effects.

How to Apply Nail Polish on Dogs 

If your dog is not used to luxury, getting a coat of nail polish may be a new experience. It might not be the most comfortable thing for some dogs to sit through. The key here is to reward your dog, be patient, and give them time to adjust to the sensation.

Check the Nails

Before doing anything else, you should check your dog’s nails. Be wary of any blemishes or apparent damage. Polishing your dog’s nails too soon after injury could cause infection. If you are concerned about whether or not the polish is safe for your dog, you should talk to your vet.

Trim and Shape

If you have not already, trim your nails. Get a uniform shape, so it does not drag on the ground when your dog walks by using a grinder or nail pile. The polish has probably chipped if you hear your nails tapping on the floor. Smooth the edges for a better finish.

Trim Back Hairs

Avoid getting nail polish on your dog’s fur at all costs! You can use shears to shorten the hair on your dog’s paws. Doing so will show the nails and eliminate the need for painful yanking.

Apply a Base Coat

A base primer coat is essential for dogs with dark black nails. Hold your dog’s paw gently and apply a quick coat. You may need a second coat if the first coat does not whiten the nail. Apply the nail polish until it is completely covered.

Apply the Nail Polish

After the base coat has dried, apply the polish! Make sure to do so gently and while praising your dog. Give your dog a break if you notice any grimacing or discomfort. Do not push it. You must be gentle and demonstrate to your dog that there is nothing to fear.

Give Some Treats

If your dog has been good about waiting for the nail polish to dry, they deserve a treat now! Your dog may take a few tries to sit quietly while you paint its nails. Keep assuring them that the polish is nothing to worry about, and they will see that it is well worth it.

When all is said and done, dog-safe nail polish is a great way to add a touch of color to your pooch’s appearance. It’s also a great bonding experience for you and your dog, so long as they’re willing to let you have your way with their paws. With enough time and praise (and possibly a bit of bribery), your pup shouldn’t have any problems letting you go to work on their nails.

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