Is Neosporin safe for dogs?

By: Trupanion Staff / Updated Aug 12, 2021

When your child falls off a bike, or you get a sharp paper cut, you’re likely to reach for Neosporin to help avoid infection with minor cuts and scrapes. But, is Neosporin for dogs safe? While Neosporin has some benefits, it may not be ideal for every situation your pup encounters.


Australian Cattle Dog resting its face in human hand.


How effective is Neosporin for dogs?

Comprised of three different antibiotics, you may think Neosporin for dogs is the way to go for small cuts and scrapes. While it can sometimes handle superficial bacteria, oral or intravenous antibiotics may be needed for deeper infections.

You may also assume that extra-strength Neosporin would be ideal for treating deeper injuries but avoid using it on your furry pal. Extra-strength Neosporin contains pain-relieving ingredients, which can be detrimental to your pet’s health if the ointment is ingested.

For superficial injuries, Neosporin can kill bacteria living on the skin’s surface, or stop their growth. When applied to a wound, Neosporin can create a protective barrier against bacteria and infection.

Although Neosporin works well for human cuts and scrapes, it’s always best to check with your veterinarian to confirm Neosporin for your dog is okay.

Neosporin side effects in dogs

If your dog’s wound is in an easily licked area, consider skipping the Neosporin. Not only will it provide zero benefits once it’s licked off, but consuming it can also upset your pooch’s stomach, leading to vomiting, diarrhea, and inappetence.

When can Neosporin be used on dogs?

If your pooch got a scrape, chances are good that you can use a small amount of Neosporin to help prevent infection in the wound. Superficial injuries, such as scrapes, abrasions, and small cuts, may benefit from this trifecta of a topical antibiotic.

However, be cautious of using it on the nose. Neosporin on the nose will always be licked off and there are better, safer options for this purpose.

When should Neosporin not be used on dogs?

While most superficial scrapes and abrasions don’t require extensive treatment, and may benefit from Neosporin application, more severe injuries often require veterinary care.

If the injury is a puncture or cut, see your veterinarian for professional treatment. For example, if your dog was romping through the woods and ran into a stick, you may not see the broken portion deep down. Or your new puppy may not know proper canine manners yet and was nipped by an older dog. Punctures can be much deeper and more severe than they look on the surface, so it’s best to get these injuries checked out. If your veterinarian gives you the all-clear, ask if Neosporin would be beneficial for follow-up care.

Neosporin may not be a good choice for use in puppies, although they often get into mischief and come away with scrapes. As tempting as it is to treat these superficial injuries, your nosy pup most likely will simply lick off any Neosporin you apply, which may lead to gastrointestinal upset.

Safe alternatives to Neosporin for dogs

Because Neosporin is formulated for people and is not a veterinary product, many pet owners prefer a topical antibiotic specifically formulated for their four-legged pals to ensure their safety.

No matter what scrape your pup gets, consult your veterinarian before trying any home remedies to prevent infection. Your pooch may need more care to prevent infection than you can offer at home.

If your pet isn't protected yet, you'll also want to consider dog insurance. Whether your pal gets minor scratches or a major injury, this coverage will help you ensure that they get the veterinary treatment they need.


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