Is Neosporin OK to Give to Dogs?

Fluffy white dog laying on lounge

If your dog has a scrape, scratch, or other exterior wound that has to be treated, you might be wondering if Neosporin would suffice. Would it work on your dog if it works so well on humans? Find out if you may use this popular lotion or gel on your dog.

What is Neosporin?

Neosporin is the brand name for a common topical antibacterial ointment that consists of neomycin, polymyxin b, and bacitracin which are different types of antibiotics. This is an over-the-counter drug, therefore no prescription is required. This drug is used to prevent and treat minor skin infections caused by cuts, scrapes, or burns. It is ineffective against infections produced by other foreign agents, such as fungi or viruses.

Can You Use Neosporin on Your Dog?

Neosporin is a typical topical antibacterial ointment that contains the medicines neomycin, polymyxin b, and bacitracin. This is an over-the-counter drug, therefore it doesn't require a prescription. This drug is intended to prevent and cure minor skin infections caused by minor wounds, scrapes, or burns. It has little impact on infections caused by fungus or virus.

Is Neosporin Safe for Dogs? 

As mentioned before, it is recommended to contact your veterinarian first before giving any medications. 

When using Neosporin on dogs with a veterinarian's permission, remember to:

  • Apply to a very small area first to check for possible allergic reactions: Symptoms of a possible allergic reaction can be redness, hives, and itching at the area. More severe side effects, which are rare, include trouble breathing and facial swelling. 
  • Only use small amounts: Neosporin is not safe for your dog to consume and when ingested, it can cause stomach upset, vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.
  • Use regular strength: Always opt for the standard strength option and avoid extra-strength varieties or ones with added active ingredients for pain relief. 
  • Avoid using in ears, eyes, and internally. 

Basic Wound Care For Your Dog

Accidents do occur. Cuts, scratches, and punctures may occur as a result of your dog's active temperament and curiosity. It is critical to know what to do in the event of an accident. Determining the degree of the injury and what has to be done to treat it can be challenging.

Unfortunate events occur. Cuts, scratches, and punctures may occur as a result of your dog's energetic disposition and curiosity. It's crucial to know what to do if one of these catastrophes occurs. Determining the degree of an injury and what should be done to treat it can be challenging.

  1. If bleeding is noted, apply direct pressure to the cut to stop the bleeding. Applying pressure assists in the blood clotting and stopping the bleeding. You can use a gauze square or clean paper towel to do this. 
  2. Isolate the wound. Your dog may have more than one cut. Check your dog’s entire body including paw pads for injury. 
  3. Rinse the wound. This includes rinsing the area with warm water and/or saline to remove dirt, debris, and possible foreign material. This can be done with a large syringe that is included in most dog first aid kits. You want to avoid touching the syringe to the area as this can cause more irritation. Once you flush the area, you may notice that the cut is more severe than first looked. Often due to fur obscuring the wound, it can be difficult to assess how severe a cut in your dog is. If, after flushing, you see it is more than a small cut or abrasion, contact your veterinarian prior to going to the next step. 
  4. Clean the wound. Similar to rinsing it, use the syringe to flush the area with an antibacterial cleanser like chlorhexidine or povidone iodine. Both of these items are usually included in first aid kits. When using iodine or chlorhexidine, they should be diluted with water prior to you using on your dog. Then, apply to gauze and gently blot the area. Avoid using hydrogen peroxide to clean wounds because it delays healing.
  5. Observe and monitor. Look closely at the wound to ensure it's clean. If you see any dirt or debris, rinse again to remove. Leaving anything in the wound could cause infection. Monitor your dog’s cut thoroughly over the next few days or until the wound is visibly healing. If you begin to notice redness or swelling, or if there are particles you cannot remove, contact your vet. Taking a photo of the cut daily can be a helpful way to monitor how your dog is healing and can be shared with your vet.