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Is Acrylic Paint Safe for Guinea Pigs?

Acrylic paint is well known for being safe for us humans, but what about animals? Would a guinea pig be in danger of acrylic paint? Let’s take a look!

Since acrylic paint is a water-based paint, they are usually safe for humans and some projects for pets. But, is acrylic paint safe for guinea pigs? Yes, with caution, you can safely use acrylic paint on a guinea pig’s cage or habitat.

In this article we go over everything you need to know to make your furry friend’s cage a little more colorful.

Can Acrylic Paint Be Harmful to Guinea Pigs?

To make acrylic paints different colors, certain chemicals may need to be added to it. This means that there are certain colors that will be dangerous to guinea pigs. There will normally be a warning label on the paint if it is toxic. You will never want to use paints which contain the following, on or around a guinea pig:

  • Cadmium
  • Chromium
  • Lead
  • Cobalt
  • Manganese

Obviously, this doesn’t mean that acrylic paint is going to be safe for your guinea pig to eat. However, they should be able to come into contact with the acrylic paint without any issues. 

My top pick for acrylic paint is always Arteza Acrylic Paints. They are non-toxic and come in all sorts of colors and styles! I highly recommend them if you want to paint your guinea pigs cage or home.

For special offers and discounts, you can also go to the Arteza website and shop their amazing products.

Can I Paint My Guinea Pig Cage?

Good news! You definitely can. However, you will need to be careful about the paint that you are using for the guinea pig cage. Check out my recommended paint above.

It is important that you only use acrylic paint or, at the very least, another water-based paint. These are usually non-toxic and can be safely used around pets.

There are some acrylic paints that are toxic. This will be clearly marked on the label. So, check that warning label, and if there is a ‘toxic’ warning label, don’t paint your guinea pig’s cage in that color. 

When you are painting a guinea pig cage with acrylic paint, make sure that you brush it on. This brush set is what I used to paint my guinea pig’s cage and home. Do not use an airbrush machine, because the paints designed for airbrushing tend to have some toxic chemicals added to them. 

If you want more info about using acrylic paint in an airbrush machine, here’s a great article!

You will also want to ensure that the guinea pig is out of the cage when you paint it. They have very, very sensitive lungs and the fumes could potentially kill them.

While it isn’t a requirement, try to paint the guinea pig cage outside. We humans will probably be able to cope with the acrylic paint fumes, but it is always nice to reduce the amount that you are breathing in.

Before you let your guinea pig back in their cage, make sure that the acrylic paint has completely dried out. Thankfully, acrylic paint tends to dry pretty quickly so this isn’t a problem. You can use a hairdryer or a handheld heatgun to speed up the process if you want. 

You can also seal the acrylic paint by applying a layer of varnish. Krylon is the brand I personally use to protect the paint against flaking and chipping. It also gives it a nice glossy finish.

Can You Paint Artwork in the Same Room as a Guinea Pig?

You can, but it’s not highly recommend. Guinea pigs have awful immune systems, and their lungs are tiny. This means that while a small amount of exposure may not damage the guinea pig, the long term exposure can have a massive impact on their health.

Always have your art supplies in a separate room to your guinea pig. We have heard countless horror stories of guinea pigs being killed by long term exposure to paints. While this is likely going to be a very small risk, particularly if you are using something non-toxic, it is still going to be a risk.

If you have no choice but to paint in the same room as your guinea pig, then make sure there is plenty of ventilation and have airflow if possible. Again, a one time painting session probably won’t harm your guinea pig, but I would still have the door or window open.

My Guinea Pig Ate Paint, What Do I Do?

If your guinea pig has eaten paint chips from their cage, then this shouldn’t be that much of an issue. Guinea pigs are notorious for chewing their cages. This means that many of them will eat paint chips with seemingly no ill effect. Although, of course, this is something that will only apply if the paint is an animal-safe paint. 

I purchased this guinea pig cage for my little guy, and the chewing is minimal. I also placed a liner, like this one, in the cage. It has a burrowing spot and it’s waterproof! I would definitely recommend getting this, as it’s helped keep his cage clean.

If your guinea pig has consumed wet paint, then you may want to keep an eye on them. Chances are that they will have only eaten a small amount so it shouldn’t be that much of an issue. However, it is always worth checking to see whether there is any change in their behavior. This includes changes in their bathroom habits.

If your guinea pig appears to be withdrawn, then take them to the vet. It could indicate that they are seriously ill. Try to make sure that you bring the paint information to the vet. That way, the vet will be able to give your guinea pig a proper diagnosis.

The one exception to this rule is if the guinea pig has consumed any of the toxic acrylic paints that we mentioned previously. If they have, then you should get them to a vet pretty quickly.

That being said, guinea pigs tend to be pretty smart about what they eat. In the vast majority of cases, if you do have wet paint in the vicinity of your guinea pig, they are probably not going to touch it. The smell is going to be quite off-putting. Guinea pigs are smart, and tend to rely on their instincts.

My Guinea Pig Breathed in Acrylic Paint Fumes, What Do I Do?

As long as they were not breathing in the fumes for long periods of time, then they should be fine.

Whenever you do any type of paint, not just with acrylic paint, try to avoid having the guinea pig in the room.

If you believe that your guinea pig has breathed in paint fumes, then keep an eye on them over the next few hours. 99% of the time, they should be fine. However, if you notice that they have some breathing difficulties, then it is important that you take them to the vet as soon as you possibly can.

What Happens if Acrylic Paint Gets on the Fur of a Guinea Pig?

Clean it off as soon as you can, with some warm and soapy water. There are two problems with leaving acrylic paint on the guinea pig’s fur.

For starters, the guinea pig is going to want to clean themselves. This means that they are going to be licking the paint. By licking the paint, they will be ingesting it. As we said before, this can be safe, but do you really want to risk it?

Also, leaving the acrylic paint on the guinea pig is going to mess up the natural oils on their skin. This is going to cause irritation and pain for your guinea pig. This means that they are going to be trying even harder to lick it away. This applies even if they get a tiny drop of paint on their fur.

Final Thoughts

Whether you are painting your guinea pig’s cage, or painting in the same room as your furry friend, always remember to take proper precautions to protect your guinea pig.

Acrylic paint is one of the safest paints around, as long as you steer clear of the fabled toxic ones. Always remember to have plenty of ventilation when painting, and wait until the cage is fully dry before placing your guinea pig back inside.

Don’t forget to check out my other articles for all your acrylic painting Q&A’s. Happy painting!


Annick's passion has been painting with acrylics since her youth. She has a lot of experience with all sorts of projects, from simple acrylic painting to advanced techniques like acrylic pouring.

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