Best Emulsion to use if you have Pets

Updated May 9, 2024 | Posted Oct 10, 2020 | Professional insight, Product Advice | 2 comments

This is an easy question to answer really, but as a professional decorator I’m forever being asked “what is the best emulsion to use if you have pets”. I’m going to take you through specific products which all three of the big brands (Crown, Johnstones and Dulux) all do versions of. Make sure you use a good quality Trade product, rather than retail.

The main attribute an emulsion needs to have if you’re using it in a room with pets is durability. This is for a few reasons. Firstly, you don’t want odor to absorb into the walls. Secondly, you don’t want the walls to mark easily and third, you may need to give the emulsion a wipe down every now and again. I’ll take you through the main products I’d consider using in a miniute, followed by my recommendations.


Which paint is safe for pets?


The answer is none before the paint has had time to cure. The first two ingredients of emulsion are water, then starch. To prevent the starch from breaking down, manufacturers  add a strong fungicide. This, along with a few of the other chemicals will make you pet very poorly if ingested.

Oil-based paints are even worse. The actual oil is an alkyd, which isn’t as ba ads it could be. However, there are more spirits added. That said, unless your pet has a fondness for turps, I can’t see them ingesting liquid gloss!! It might be an idea to stop them from getting wet paint on their skin though.


Once dried you should be fine. Oil-based satin or gloss is often a lot more durable that its water-based alternative, so unless drying time is an issue, oil-based is a good idea for your woodwork if you’re worried about pets scuffing, or even chewing it.


Durable Matt Emulsion


Durable matt is a compromise really. You get to keep the matt finish which suits most homes and you gain a bit of durability. No odor will penetrate the walls and they won’t mark as easily as they would with a normal vinyl or contract matt. Did you notice the first line I used in this paragraph? “Durable matt is a compromise”, well it is. Even though you do gain some durability, you can’t really give durable matt a good wipe down like you can with some of the products I’m about to go into. If you have a dog, cat or donkey that absolutely trashes the walls then you may want to go for something else. If your pets are relatively clean and you still want to keep a matt finish, then go with the durable matt.

I’ll take you through your choices now. Crown have Clean Extreme, Johnstone’s have acrylic durable and Dulux have Diamond. It may also be worth looking at Tikkurila Optiva 5 too. In my humble opinion, Crown Clean Extreme is the best durable matt emulsion out of the BIG 3. Teknos Pro 5 is a very good product, and more durable than any of the mainstream products.


Acrylic Eggshell Emulsion


Acrylic eggshell is probably the best emulsion to use if your pets are slightly less clean (trying to be polite). If you have a big dog who comes in and leans against the walls after chasing rabbits in a muddy field, then go with acrylic eggshell. It is probably more durable than durable matt and still won’t absorb odours, but you’ll be able to wipe it down too. The sheen level is a lot higher than a matt so you will lose in appearance, but at least you’ll be able to keep your house nice and clean.


Silk Emulsion


Silk is even more durable than acrylic eggshell and used to be very popular. Our tastes seem to have changed dramatically though and looking back, I don’t see the appeal. Silk emulsion only looks good on embossed paper. On smooth plaster it highlights every imperfection and you can see all your brush marks. It can also cause problems with crazing when you come to redecorate.


Kitchen and Bathroom Paint


This is the retail version of durable matt emulsion. You can pick this paint up from your local B&Q or DIY shop.  It’s alright if you need to stick to a budget, but as a professional decorator, I’d highly recommend you stick to TRADE PAINT.


Final Thoughts


I really hope this blog has helped, and you now know which is the best emulsion to use if you have pets. If you want a very quick recap; Durable matt emulsion is perfect if your walls aren’t going to get too messed up by your beloved animal. If they are, then go with acrylic eggshell.

Blog written by Mike Gregory – Professional Painter, Decorator and Blogger

Updated May 9, 2024 | Posted Oct 10, 2020 | 2 comments

About the Author

About the Author

Mike Cupit has been in the decorating industry since 2002 and has mostly worked as a Trade Decorator in the domestic sector (peoples’ homes). Self-proclaimed “product geek”, Mike has a passion for paint and decorating tools. Mike now spends most of his time testing paint products and tools, comparing them to similar products on the market, and blogging about the industry in general.


  1. Jack Wardley

    use oil based eggshell

    • Katherine Challinor

      Hi, just want to know what is the best paint, stain or varnish to use on my dogs kennel, both inside and out. It’s a large kennel and open to the elements.

      Thank you


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