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Can You Use Polysporin On Dogs? (What VETS Say)

Whenever our dog comes back with a graze or minor wound, we of course want to help them any way we can. A common question I see time and time again is whether Polysporin can be used on dogs. It’s often an effective treatment for us, but what about our dogs?

Some veterinarians will prescribe Polysporin for use on dogs, and others won’t. While the two main ingredients Bacitracin and Polymyxin B have been deemed safe for use on dogs, it can sometimes make things worse. Alternatives solutions are usually preferred.

Everything will be explained clearly below with alternatives.

What Is Polysporin?

Polysporin is a double antibiotic ointment that is made for human use. It prevents infections from happening in minor grazes, cuts, wounds, and burns.

It’s an extremely well-known antibiotic ointment that’s available all over the world. In some locations, you need it prescribed, but in others, you can buy it over the counter.

Polysporin contains:

  • Bacitracin
  • Polymyxin B

Can You Use Polysporin On Dogs? (is it safe?)

While carrying out research, we learned from Dr. Rachel Barrack that the two ingredients contained in Polysporin (Bacitracin and Polymyxin B) have been deemed safe for animals.

At first, it seems like it gets the “safe” vote, but unfortunately, it’s not that straightforward.

Many veterinarians still put forth the argument that it is not safe for dogs.

Primarily due to the fact this medicine was originally made for use on humans, not animals. And due to its ability to cause allergic reactions making matters worse.

For some dogs, Polysporin will not produce an allergic reaction, and they will be able to reap the intended rewards, but for others, it could worsen their wound and cause a reaction.

Still, many vets do approve the use of Polysporin when in small amounts, for very minor wounds or scrapes, and only in areas that the dog will not be able to lick.

In cases like this, Polysporin will likely be fine to use, providing your dog doesn’t have an intolerance to the ointment.

It’s always best to patch-test any ointment you intend to use on your dog first in an area away from their face, this will allow you to check if the ointment causes any redness, irritation, inflammation, or discomfort.

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Neosporin vs Polysporin For Dogs?

We’ve already covered this topic in our Neosporin article.

Neosporin is very similar to Polysporin, but the main difference is that it is a triple antibiotic ointment/cream, rather than a double.

It includes the same ingredients as Polysporin plus an extra one: Neomycin Sulfate.

  • The issue with Neosporin, however, is that Neomycin has not yet been deemed safe for dogs and has been linked to hearing loss. Whether official testing on dogs will be done is unknown.

But this is where it gets confusing again… Despite this, many veterinarians still prescribe and use Neosporin on minor wounds and scrapes for dogs, when only needed in small amounts and in hard-to-lick areas.

Of the two, it may be best to go with Polysporin over Neosporin because it does not contain Neomycin. Still, this is not professional advice, and you should speak to your veterinarian first.

Where Can You Use Polysporin On a Dog?

If you do find yourself in a situation where you feel like using a small amount of Polysporin will help your dog, then it’s wise to know which areas you should and shouldn’t use it.

1. Ears, Eyes, Mouth

Always no. Never use Polysporin (or Neosporin) around the eyes, ears, and mouth.

You want to avoid him licking the ointment, ingesting, or getting it in his ears or eyes. This will likely make your dog very sick and could cause him a lot of irritation.

2. Paws

The most common place for dogs to pick up scraps and cuts is on their paws and legs.

While you could use Polysporin here, you would likely need to use a bandage to prevent your dog from licking the ointment.

Then again, using a bandage could encourage your dog to rip it off and inspect the area even more.

Best Places

The most appropriate place to use Polysporin is wherever he can’t easily access it.

Depending on your dog and their size, they may not be able to reach their backside, back, certain parts of their underbelly, or neck area.

As long as your dog can’t reach it to lick it, and it’s not near his ears eyes, or mouth, then it’s likely a “safer” place to use Polysporin.

The last thing we want is for our dog to ingest Polysporin.

Alternatives To Polysporin

Because Polysporin is not made for animals, it’s no surprise that many owners would prefer not to use it.

So what alternatives are there to help your dog with a minor wound, scrape or cut?

● Vaseline

Providing the wound is only minor and properly cleaned and dried beforehand, you can safely use Vaseline (petroleum jelly). Vaseline acts as a barrier for bacteria and generally does not allow bacteria to grow. But the wound MUST be clean and dry before you use it.

● Warm soapy water

Other than that, the best thing to do is clean the wound with warm soapy water (a mild soap only), thoroughly dry it, and consult your veterinarian.

Sometimes, nothing else will be needed to help the wound heal. However, this will depend on the location and the severity of it.

If you are unsure of any wound or cut your dog has picked up, regardless of how minor it might be, it’s always best to speak to your veterinarian and for them to take a look. Quick action is always the best action.

Basic Wound Care Tips

Regardless of whether you want to use Polysporin, here are some basic wound care tips that might help you and your dog should the situation come.

If the wound is minor, shallow, and without much bleeding, then a trip to vets might not be necessary at all.

“minor” is considered less than 1 inch in length, shallow, and with clean edges.

If the cut is bigger, longer, jagged, deep, or is excessively bleeding, then you should seek help from your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Minor scrapes, wounds, and cuts should be gently cleaned using warm soapy water. Only use a mild soap for this, and avoid using strong chemical soaps or detergents (like dawn or other washing-up liquids).

Dry the area thoroughly with a separate clean towel.

Depending on the wound, you might want to leave it, bandage it, use a small amount of Vaseline, or opt for Polysporin.

Last Thoughts

Some vets approve the use of Polysporin on dogs (depending on where it is, the severity of the wound), and other veterinarians do not approve of its use.

Ideally, if your dog gets a wound, you should clean it as best you can, dry it, and seek help from your veterinarian.

Your dog may or may not respond well to Polysporin, and in the case they do not, it could make matters worse.

If your veterinarian recommends it, you can ask for their assistance in applying it while at the vet in a controlled environment.

While many have had success treating minor wounds with Polysporin on dogs, it doesn’t mean it will be the case for your dog.

Considering everything above, personally, I would always seek my local vet’s advice before trying Polysporin.

I hope this article has been of help.

Thank you for reading!


The advice given in this article is for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice in any context. Before making any decisions that may affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. For the FULL disclaimer Visit Here

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