Can You Use Human Nail Polish On Dogs?

Can You Use Human Nail Polish On Dogs

In this era, 90% of humans, including me, love grooming. We love being fit, getting dressed, and adopting every new fashion trend. Along with ourselves, we pet owners are crazy about the grooming of our pets. It’s love to make them look more pretty and appealing. 

A good and healthy look enhances a pet’s well-being. Dogs also have fashion trends that are ever-changing fast. Dog collars, harnesses, and fur-trimming styles have been trending for many years. Many dog salons offer different grooming and styling ideas like trending styles, manicures, pedicures, nail art, and much more we can’t even imagine.

Before any grooming technique is applied to pets, a responsible pet owner always prioritizes their well-being and wants to know about the pros and cons of any kind of product.

Like, Is getting a manicure, pedicure, or nail art for your dog fine? Or, Can you use human nail polish on dogs? to make it look prettier? Does it contain any toxic ingredients? Let’s find it out

Can You Use Human Nail Polish On Dogs

The answer is BIG NO! Dogs can lick or chew their nails, and human nail polish contains chemicals such as formaldehyde, ethyl acetate, toluene, and dibutyl phthalate are poisonous if ingested. Instead, use dog-safe polishes specifically formulated using water-based, and non-toxic ingredients.

Many research shows that “if a dog licks chemicals in nail polish, it affects their health badly. Even a small amount of chemicals can lead to short-term results of lethargy and vomiting, and it can worsley damage its organs.”

Can You Use Human Nail Polish On Dogs

Nail Polish Ingredients That Are Toxic To Dogs 

Now, we know many potential disadvantages, toxicity, and reactions of human nail polish for dogs. It is also crucial to know the ingredients that make nail paint toxic. The ingredients are:

Nail Polish Ingredients That Are


Formaldehyde is a chemical that hardens nail polish on nails. It contains carcinogens that affect the lungs and nasals and lead to cancer. If formaldehyde is directly exposed to the dog’s skin, it can irritate the skin. Ingesting this chemical causes respiratory and gastrointestinal issues and can become worse sometimes. 


This chemical is used to make the texture smooth. We love the smooth application of nail paint. Toluene fulfills this demand of users. Your dog can easily get sick only by smelling toluene odor. It smells like poison for dogs. If the dog inhales toluene or licks nail paint, they will show symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea, which leads to neurological damage. 

Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP) 

DBP is used to make the paint more flexible and lasting on nails. It affects a dog’s lungs, kidneys, and reproductive system. A study claims that DBP exposure can cause damage to the reproductive system of animals. It can lead to developmental abnormalities and several health issues. 


Camphor is not good for pets, but it is more toxic for dogs who are already facing liver health issues. It is used in medicines, ointment, oil, etc. But camphor is carefully added 3 to 20% in a medicine. Avoiding products that contain camphor due to the risk of poisoning is better. 

Ethyl Acetate 

Ethyl acetate is a big danger for dogs. It does not need to be ingested or inhaled to be toxic. Only exposure to the skin can lead to toxicity. Suppose your canine consumes or absorbs it through the skin. It can lead to skin irritation and gastrointestinal upset, or it can make the situation worse by leading to breathing disabilities. 


Where xylene improves the texture and application of nail paint, it affects the dog’s nervous system. If your dogs consume it, it leads to difficulty during walking, lethargy, and respiratory distress.

It’s best to avoid using human nail polish or any other product containing these chemicals. But in case of accidental exposure to any of these things, consult your veterinarian.

Potential Health Risks Of Using Human Nail Polish On Dog’s Chemical Toxicity

Dog owners put all their efforts and love into protecting their pets from sickness, health issues, and potential hazards. But unknowingly, sometimes we put our canine health at risk by our own hands, such as using human nail polish on them (Which I hope will not happen if you rad the above paragraphs).

Potential Health Risks Of Using

Now, we know how these nail polishes are harmful to our pets. Let’s learn the potential risks these chemicals can provide and how these chemicals can affect your canine’s health. 

Ingestion Issues

Dogs are curious about licking and chewing the things they like. Ingestion of chemicals like “formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, and toluene can lead to respiratory systems. It affects their reproductive system. If your dog ingests a significant amount of human nail paint, it may cause diarrhea, vomiting, and lethargy. 

Fume Inhalation 

Dogs have more than 100 million sensory receptor sites in the nasal cavity than humans. They can easily sense a very minor odor. Human nail polish releases fumes after using it on the nails. This fume inhalation can cause sneezing, coughing, and breathing difficulties, and if the exposure is prolonged, it will lead to severe respiratory issues. 

Skin Irritation 

Human Nail polish is perfectly made by keeping human needs in mind. The dog’s skin is too sensitive. Camphor and ethyl acetate are toxic to their skin. Exposure to nail polish on the skin can lead to irritation, itching, redness, swelling, and discomfort. Dogs will show their discomfort by excessively chewing painted nails.


As I mentioned above, along with ingesting or inhaling, human nail polish is toxic when contacting or absorbed through the skin. These chemical’s toxicity can lead to organ damage, lethargy, and walking disabilities. It is more dangerous for small breeds and dogs who have some pre-existing health issues. 

Behavioral Changes  

Dogs also show some behavioral changes after applying human nail polish. Restlessness, agitation, discomfort, excessive licking or chewing paws, and behaviors changed from normal. 

It’s best to avoid using human nail polish on your pet, but if they get in contact accidentally, monitoring behavioral changes will help identify the potential health risks. 

How To Choose The Right Dog Nail Polish 
A dog with dog-safe nail polish applied on the nails lying on a bed

Are There Any Safer Alternatives To Human Nail Polish 

Yes, Dog-safe nail polishes and polish pens are already on the market come with canine-safe ingredients, and are easy to use.

Dog-safe nail polishes don’t contain any chemicals that are harmful to dogs. They are perfect for pets and contain healthy ingredients like aloe vera, vitamin E, and more to ensure safety. 

You can also use dog nail caps on your dog’s nails. There are many stylish nail caps available at pet shops. Nail caps are easy to apply and best for the fashion trendy look. 

How To Apply Dog Nail Polish At Home 

Applying dog nail polish isn’t a big deal and you can do it at home rather than going to groomers near you. You just have to prepare your dog’s nails first. For preparing nails: 

  1. Trim or cut your dog’s nails extra length with a good nail trimmer
  2. File them with the help of a filer. Damage to the surface or length will destroy the flawless look. 
  3. After trimming and filing, wash the nails with water. 

For Applying Dog Nail Polish 

  1. Create a calm and peaceful environment.
  2. Let your dog sit or lie comfortably.
  3. Give them some treats: peanut butter, plain yogurt, or toys. 
  4. First, apply a thin layer of nail paint and let it dry properly. Dog nail polishes or polish pens tend to dry quickly so it wouldn’t be a problem.
  5. For a prominent and shiny finish look, double coat the nail polish. 
  6. Monitor your dog’s nails regularly. If the paint is removed or smudged, touch up it to maintain the polished look. 

For Removing Dog Nail Polish

You just have to follow these four steps: 

  1. Get the supplies: Canine-safe nail polish remover and 2 pieces of cotton. 
  2. Put nail polish remover on the cotton. 
  3. Put it on your dog’s nail and tap with your finger. 
  4. Gently rub it and remove it. Do all the processes again if it’s needed.

In short, the process is exactly the same as us humans; for dogs, the only different thing is nail polish.

My Personal Favorite Dog Nail Polish

Just like you, I too love to groom my dog’s nails. And for that purpose, I use Warren London’s products. For long-lasting results, I use their Bottled Dog Nail Polish. For a hasty fix, I use Warren London Pawdicure Polish Pen; this is a water-based, non-toxic nail polish for dogs. It comes in a convenient pen form, making it easy to apply.

Common Question:

What makes dog nail polish different?

Dog’s nail polish is made with water-based and non-toxic material. It is not harmful if your dog licks it. It can dry faster than human nail polish, which is best for impatient furr balls.

Can I wear nail polish near my dog?

Human nail polish contains fumes. Fume inhalation can lead to nausea for dogs. You can wear fume-free nail polish near your dog. Otherwise, It’s better to avoid it.

Can I use a normal nail polish remover on my dog?

No, you can’t. Normal Nail polish remover contains a chemical that is harmful to dogs. You can use soy-based remover or canine-safe nail polish remover. It is suitable for dogs.

What’s in nail polish remover that is toxic to dogs?

Different chemicals are used to make the nail polish remover, such as acetone, ketone, and n-methyl-pyrrolidone. These all are toxic for dogs.

How can I tell if it’s a dog’s nail polish?

You can check through the manufacturer’s content page. The nail paint contains acetone for humans and water-based and non-toxic nail polish for dogs.


It’s a big NO if you are wondering whether you can use human nails on dogs. These nail polishes are toxic for dogs. It is perfectly designed for humans.

If you want to groom your dog’s look as doggie couture. It is advisable to use dog-friendly nail polishes. It is perfectly fine if your canine licks it.

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