Can You Use Neosporin on Dogs? Whether playing in the park or running around the house, your furry friend, when not being careful (most of the time they aren’t) is prone to scratches here and there. And like every careful and concerned dog owner, you get alarmed at even the minor cuts. And your first intuition – grabbing the first aid box.
Your first aid box comes with a triple antibiotic ointment called Neosporin. You might have used it on your family members for minor scratches or bleeding, but this drug is different for dogs. And like every drug behaves differently in every situation.
Neosporin is available as an over-the-counter drug and many pet owners use it for superficial scratches. Many vets also recommend it, but in small amounts, because it can have serious side effects. This drug acts differently for different dog breeds, and it is best to consult your vet about its impact on your dog.
Well, before you start using it on your Fido, here are a few things to keep in mind before applying one.
Dogs are playful and can get into all sorts of trouble. As, a responsible pet parent, you need to take extra care of social and spirited dogs.
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What Is Neosporin?
Neosporin is a triple ointment antibiotic drug, well available over-the-counter at many pharmacies, and used mainly for small and minor cuts. It is a great bactericidal agent and effectively destroys bacteria at the injury site. It has no viridial or fungicidal properties.
By triple ointment antibiotic, it means that it has three principle/active drugs or ingredients:
Neomycin sulfate – belongs to a class of antibiotics called aminoglycosides. Works by neutralizing both gram-positive and negative bacteria.
Polymyxin B – effective against gram-negative bacteria but has little effect on gram-positive bacteria.
Bacitracin Zinc – dissolved in petroleum jelly, it effectively destroys gram-positive bacteria.
So, when using Neosporin, all these ingredients come into play, and all their side effects are different and add up. That is why it is not advised to use it for severe injuries, and not every vet recommends it. Make sure to consult your vet and check if any pertaining issues can contraindicate its use.
Antibiotics are necessary if the wound is due to a dog bite, falling on the road, or being covered in mud/dirt.
Can You Use Neosporin on Dogs? Is it Safe?
Neosporin acts as a physical barrier between the skin and the bacteria and prevents the entry of germs. It is applied as a thin layer over the affected part, prevents infection, and encourages healing of the wound rapidly.
Neosporin is only advisable for superficial cuts and abrasions. It isn’t advisable for deeper, perforated, and heavily bleeding wounds. If there is swelling or discharge from the lesion, it is most likely infected, and the best option is to contact your vet instead of self-treatment at home.
For minor cuts and abrasions, Neosporin is a viable option but still not the best one. It is only used as a topical ointment in the part where the dog can’t lick it off. When ingested, it can have serious gastrointestinal complications.
Some dogs are allergic to it. Most vets recommend doing a skin patch test on hearty intact skin to check for any debilitating effects like allergies. It could be any part of the body. Any sign of hives, rash, or redness can indicate an adverse event, and it’s not advisable to use the drug.
The drug is not manufactured for dogs, but for humans. The side effects and complications in mind are with its use on humans. Although it is safe, it is still not the preferred medicine. There are many great alternatives to it. You may use Neosporin in a pinch as an emergency first aid medicine when the other options are not accessible. But, it’s not advised for regular use. The official website states,” These products are not recommended for animal use”.
Adverse Effects on Dogs
Neosporin is an exceptional bactericidal but has a few dangerous adverse effects. But, these effects can be minimized when used precautiously. Here are a few notable complications that might arise when using this drug:
As a topical medicine, the dog can lick it from the site of injury. It will only defeat the purpose of using the drug in the first place and also cause a digestive upset. Neosporin, when taken orally acts by disturbing the normal gut flora (good GIT bacteria). This can cause severe vomiting and diarrhea and can lead to dehydration.
The best way to tackle this is to cover the area with a sterile bandage or use Elizabethan Collar or any other collar alternative. But if it still doesn’t help and the dog tries chewing the bandage, it’s best to change the ointment to a more cordial alternative.
It’s another dangerous adverse effect mainly due to one of its principal ingredients i.e. Neomycin. Neosporin, when applied topically in a small amount is safe. But sometimes, the wound can get swollen, and a local inflammatory reaction pursues. It’s best to wipe the medicine immediately and contact your vet for further assistance.
Hearing and Vision Effects
Neosporin is a topical drug used on the skin. Dogs suffering from underlying hearing or visual disabilities or infections are affected if applied to ears or eyes. When applied to the ears, it can damage the eardrum and aggravate the existing inflammation or infection. Most dog owners confuse it with ophthalmic drops that worsen the underlying condition. Dr. Rachel Barrack, a specialist in veterinary acupuncture, states that Neomycin has been linked to hearing loss.
A huge drawback of using Neosporin is the chance of developing resistance. MRSA is a notorious bacterium that develops resistance to antibiotics when used without proper care. It is widely common in the USA and known for forming pus-filled sores. It causes septicemia and invades the lungs and other vital organs.
Care is required when dealing with antibiotics as they can have severe drawbacks not only for humans but as well as dogs. There has been an increased use of antibiotics over the years since they are widely available. Increased resistance and careless use can increase the complications instead of solving them.
Many dogs are allergic to antibiotic ointments and require special care when administering a high dose. You should maintain a past medical history of allergic reactions to various medications.
Like every antibiotic, it has a few contraindications and shouldn’t be used if your Fido is suffering from certain conditions. As it is a triple ointment antibiotic, all principal drugs will have different contraindications. Here are a few you should keep in mind before administering the ointment:
- Kidney Disease
- Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Contact Dermatitis
- Hypersensitivity Reactions
- Renal impairment
- Hypersensitivity Reactions
Types of Neosporin Available
- Neosporin & Pain-Relief. For use on minor cuts and abrasions. Along with protection against the harmful bacterium, it contains an analgesic Pramoxine Hydrochloride for pain relief. It is used one to three times daily (as per the need). For quick relief, cover the wound after application with a Band-Aid for extra protection.
- Simple Neosporin. A triple antibiotic ointment used as a first-aid remedy for minor cuts and abrasions. It provides 24-hour protection against harmful bacteria for minor cuts and wounds.
- Pain, Itch, & Scar Ointment. Aside from extra pain relief, this product also offers itch relief. The groundbreaking Heliderm Technology provides a nourishing environment for wound healing and reduces the chances of scar formation. This product contains 1% Hydrocortisone and is a popular remedy for eczema. As it is a steroidal product, it has a few repercussions as it can suppress your dog’s immune system. The product has severe adverse effects like glaucoma, hair loss, vision deterioration, and headache.
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- Neosporin Burn Relief. It is available as an ointment used for minor injuries and burns relief. It comes with an analgesic Pramoxine Hydrochloride that provides pain relief against burn injuries.
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All mentioned products, although designed for humans are safe for use on dogs. It is strongly advised to consult your attending veterinarian before applying any product.
There is no need to worry if you are not content with Neosporin and want a dog-friendly alternative. There are a few great ointments that can provide pain relief and protect your Fido in case of an injury. Here are a few excellent options to keep in mind.
Panolog is manufactured for dogs and is often used to treat otitis media and externa. Aside from its anti-bacterial properties, it also provides relief against fungal infections. It has four active ingredients and is well known for its rapid pain relief. The ingredient Nystatin is anti-fungal and is well tolerated against Candida species. It is also indicated for its use in dermatological infections like exudative dermatitis.
Panalog is only indicated for superficial cuts and abrasions. Its use is not advised for treating abscesses and inflammations of vessels.
Calendula is a medicinal herb used as tea or ointment. It has powerful healing abilities and has a role in anti-inflammation.
You can use it to clean wounds and apply it once or twice daily to protect the lesion from infections. As a natural herb, you can prepare it yourself or even buy it at your local stores. It is completely dog friendly, and even if your Fido licks it, there are no serious adverse effects (as in the case of Neosporin).
A potent anti-bacterial made up of two active ingredients, Manuka Honey and MicroSIlver BG. It even has a great use against resistant MRSA. Unlike the other antimicrobials, it stays on the skin instead of being absorbed into the body.
Plus, the biggest advantage is that Silver Honey protects the natural biome of the skin and only destroys unwanted germs from the wound. Many vets recommend it as a protective agent against unwanted microbes.
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Sulfodene is another excellent 3-way ointment for dogs. Whether it’s a minor cut, abrasion, or a hotspot, it provides extra protection against infections. It’s available as an over-the-counter medication and is widely used.
Dog owners mainly use it for scratches due to allergies, as Sulfodene provides a barrier and keeps bugs and flies away. The analgesic effect it provides, with its antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties, makes it an excellent antibiotic ointment for dogs.
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Medicinal herbs have fewer side effects as they are naturally available. Calendula is well-known for its healing abilities and anti-inflammatory effects.
How to Treat your Dog’s Wound
Your dog can experience cuts, bruises, or abrasions (rather frequently). Knowing how playful they are and how much they like jumping around, it happens a lot. But, as responsible owners, you should be able to provide first aid and treat minor wounds.
Prompt treatment and care can prevent complications like infections. So, you should keep a first aid kit and a few supplies at hand at all times. Here are a few things to keep in your first aid kit box.
- Sterile Bandages
- Anti-bacterial ointment
- Clean towels or cloth
- Bandage scissors
- Warm water
If a wound is bleeding profusely or is infected, you should immediately get in touch with a vet for further care.
Steps for Treating The Wound
- The first step is to stabilize the dog and provide firm support. While treating, it might pinch a little, and the dog might resist the treatment.
- Next, if the wound is bleeding, it is best to apply gentle pressure on it with a towel or cloth. Keep pressing until the bleeding stops.
- Clear the wound and cut the hair with an electric muzzle or scissors. Make sure there is no hair in the cut and shaved properly.
- Clean the wound with warm water for debris like sand, mud, etc. Make sure it is dry before processing onwards.
- Use a non-stinging antiseptic to clean the wound. Avoid using hydrogen peroxide (H202) as it slows healing.
- An antimicrobial ointment is necessary before covering the wound. It will protect the injury from getting infected. After applying the ointment, cover and pack up the wound with a sterile bandage. Do not leave it open, as dogs try to lick.
- If the situation worsens with time, consult your vet for further care.
Dogs are difficult to treat if they are not held properly. Using an antiseptic to clean the lesion can pinch, and it gets can get difficult to manage the injury.
Can you use Neosporin on dogs? In short, yes you can. Neosporin is an excellent anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial drug. It is safe for use on dogs with a few precautions in place. It is a valuable addition to Fido’s first-aid box kit and is widely available as an over-the-counter medication.
You can use it at the time of an emergency to treat superficial wounds and cuts if there are no better alternatives present. Its regular use is not recommended. Some dogs might suffer from a few adverse effects from its use. And, it’s best to consult your veterinary beforehand. This guide offers a brief explanation and insight on the ointment’s use and can’t substitute for professional veterinarian guidance.