Is Neosporin Safe for Dogs?

Dogs are prone to minor injuries like cuts, scrapes, and burns. In many cases, your dog’s thick fur protects him from these things but accidents do happen. When they do, you want to clean and treat the wound as quickly as possible to prevent infection. Neosporin is what most people use to protect their own wounds from infection, but is it safe to use for your dog?

What Exactly is Neosporin?

Neosporin is the brand name for a topical antibiotic typically used to prevent infections for minor skin wounds such as cuts, scrapes, and burns. The generic names for Neosporin include bacitracin, neomycin, and polymyxin. The main purpose of Neosporin is to hinder the growth of infection-causing bacteria when applied to minor wounds, but some forms also offer analgesic properties. When used properly, not only can Neosporin prevent infection, but it may also help to speed the healing process.

Related: How to Treat 4 Common Canine Skin Injuries and Irritations

Can You Use Neosporin on Dogs?

When your dog sustains a minor injury your first instinct might be to reach for an antibacterial cream such as Neosporin, but you should think twice before you do. First of all, you need to consider whether an antibacterial cream works the same way on a dog’s skin as it works on human skin. The short answer is yes, Neosporin helps to create a physical barrier against bacteria entering the wound and it offers antibacterial properties to prevent infection as well.

It is important to remember, however, that for both dogs and humans, Neosporin is not for the treatment of deep cuts or major wounds. If your dog is bleeding heavily you need to apply a compressive bandage to control the bleeding and take your dog to the emergency vet for stitches.

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Something else you need to think about is that dogs tend to heal very quickly from superficial wounds – faster than humans do. This being the case, a topical ointment like Neosporin may not be necessary, though it certainly won’t hurt. You can apply Neosporin as an added layer of protection, but only apply a small amount two to three times per day until the wound is fully healed.

You also need to be sure to cover the wound with a bandage to prevent your dog from licking it and ingesting the Neosporin. When ingested in large amounts, Neosporin and similar antibiotics can cause dangerous side effects including gastrointestinal upset, vomiting, diarrhea, skin lesions, and seizures.

If you want to avoid the risk for poisoning altogether, go with a dog-friendly alternative called Vetericyn. It is a wound and skin care spray that is completely safe for dogs, even if ingested.

Even if your dog sustains a minor injury, you should still take care to properly clean and treat the area so it doesn’t become infected. Superficial wounds tend to heal quickly on their own, but deep cuts and serious wounds may require stitches. Don’t take your dog’s health for granted – treat injuries promptly to prevent them from getting infected.

Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor’s degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.