Using Neosporin on Dogs

Using Neosporin on Dogs: Safety, Usage, and More

Katelyn Son
By Katelyn Son
Medically reviewed by Ivana Crnec, DVM
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Minor cuts, abrasions, and scrapes on your dog? Why not share your tube of Neosporin with your dog? But is it safe to use Neosporin on pets? In this article, we will answer these questions and talk about Neosporin on dogs

Neosporin is an over-the-counter available topical and triple antibiotic ointment. Neosporin kills bacteria and prevents wound infections. But, most importantly, it is perfectly safe for dogs. 

Keep reading to learn how to use this popular antibiotic safely on your pup. We will talk about the pros, the potential cons and give some helpful guidelines. Finally, we will mention several Neosporin alternatives for dogs. 

Can You Use Neosporin on Dogs? 

Can You Use Neosporin on Dogs

Yes, you can use Neosporin on dogs. This topical ointment is used for managing minor cuts, scrapes, and abrasions. In such cases, Neosporin has three uses:

  • Creating a physical barrier between the skin and the pathogens 
  • Prevention of infections by killing bacteria at the wound site 
  • Promoting faster and more comfortable wound healing process

However, remember that Neosporin can only be used on superficial and minor wounds while deep, puncture wounds, and open, bleeding wounds are not something you should deal with at home and on your own. 

If your dog’s wound is deep, bleeding, or looks infected, skip the Neosporin application and go see your trusted veterinarian. Severe wounds require special management – oral medications or even surgical correction. 

What is Neosporin and How is it Used on Dogs

As mentioned, Neosporin is a triple-antibiotic ointment. In simple words, it means the medication contains three active ingredients or topical antibiotics: 

  • Neomycin sulfate– efficient against many gram-positive and several gram-negative bacteria.
  • Bacitracin zinc – successfully destroys various gram-positive bacteria.
  • Polymyxin B– narrow-spectrum antibiotic efficient against several gram-negative bacteria.

The working specters of the active ingredients make Neosporin effective in killing common bacteria. However, it holds no destructive effects on viruses, parasites, and fungi. 

Neosporin is used on dogs only topically, in small amounts, and on previously cleaned minor wounds. If you are not sure whether to put Neosporin on your dog’s wound, do not hesitate to call the veterinarian for a quick consult. 

Is Neosporin Safe for Dogs?

Yes, generally speaking, Neosporin is safe for dogs. According to Dr. Danel Grimmett, a veterinarian with Sunset Veterinary Clinic in Oklahoma, “small amounts of Neosporin are not harmful.” 

However, the dog’s age, size, allergies, concurrent medication use, and overall health can all influence how the medication works. Therefore, before you put Neosporin on your dog, check with your vet

It is also advisable to perform a simple patch test. Namely, before using the antibiotic ointment on the actual wound, apply a thin layer of Neosporin on intact, healthy skin. If there are no signs of irritation or reaction after several minutes, you can safely put Neosporin on your dog’s wound. 

  • 0.5-ounces of Neosporin Original Topical Antibiotic Ointment for treating minor cuts, scrapes, and burns
  • 24-hour infection protection for minor wounds
  • Contains HeliDerm Technology that provides a nourishing environment for skin to heal, resulting in healthier looking skin after use

How to Use Neosporin on Dogs

How to Use Neosporin on Dogs

Before using Neosporin on your dog, there are several things you should do to ensure safe and efficient application. 

Isolate the wound. If your dog has one visible wound, it may have other wounds that are not easily visible because of the fur. It is always a good idea to thoroughly examine your dog. And do not forget to check the paw pads. 

Clean the wound. Use a syringe filled with water or saline solution to flush dirt and debris from the wound. Then get a gauze, soak it in an antibacterial cleanser (iodine or chlorhexidine) and blot the wound. Never use hydrogen peroxide as it delays healing. 

Put Neosporin on the wound. Assuming you have already performed the patch test, apply a thin Neosporin layer over the wound. If your dog likes to lick, cover the area with a bandage (a clean sock or t-shirt works great). 

Neosporin Side Effects and Precautions in Dogs

With every medication, there is a small risk of side effects, and this includes creams too. Since Neosporin is used topically, the most common adverse reactions affect the skin and include local swelling, rashes, and hives. 

Rarely, if used inadequately or irresponsibly, Neosporin can cause more severe side effects:

  • Stomach upset (vomiting and diarrhea) if ingested or licked off.
  • Eye irritations and infections if accidentally applied to the dog’s eyes.
  • Ear infections or even hearing loss if applied inside the dog’s ears.
  • Antibiotic-resistant infections if used too frequently.

With the side effects covered, it is time we discuss some other Neosporin products available on the market and their level of dog friendliness: 

  • Neosporin & Pain Relief. In addition to the triple-antibiotic formula, some Neosporin products feature an additional active ingredient (usually lidocaine or pramoxine hydrochloride) for additional pain relief. It is not advisable to use such products unless instructed by the vet. 
  • Neosporin Spray. This product contains the same active ingredients as the cream, meaning it is safe for dogs. In fact, many pet owners find it more convenient – it is easier to apply and absorbs much faster, leaving no time for accidental ingestions.                                                             

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  • Neosporin Anti-Itch. Features 1% hydrocortisone. Hydrocortisone is a steroid medication with potent anti-inflammatory properties and is excellent for relieving itchy skin. However, not all wounds benefit from steroids meaning you should ask the vet before use. 
  • Neosporin Wound Cleanser. An instant foaming solution that serves as a first-aid antiseptic. Can be used during the cleaning phase but with extra caution. The cleanser contains benzalkonium chloride and can be toxic to dogs if ingested. 
  • Neosporin Ophthalmic. Contains neomycin, polymyxin B, and gramicidin and is formulated for managing eye infections. However, we strongly advise you to refrain from putting anything inside your dog’s eyes before consulting with a licensed veterinarian. 

Neosporin Alternatives for Dogs

Do not worry if your pup has a minor wound and you are not a big fan of pharmaceuticals. Here are some natural, efficient, and canine-friendly Neosporin alternatives. 

Calendula for Dogs. This Mediterranean herb is frequently used in canine dermatology. This is because, in addition to cleaning wounds and preventing infection, Calendula supports healing and has anti-inflammatory features. Plus, it can be used in various forms, from teas and homemade salves to diluted tinctures to store-bought creams. 

Organic Manuka Honey for Dogs. Manuka honey is known for its antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. Manuka honey has been long used in the prevention of wound infections, although recent studies show it cannot speed up the healing process. You can buy organic Manuka honey or honey-based wound care products. 

Healing Clays for Dogs. There are various types of clays that can help with wound treatment. The group of healing clays includes Bentonite, Montmorillonite, Illite, and Redmond clays. Clays stop bleeding and scabbing and prevent infections and itchiness. Plus, they are readily available and easy to use. 

Sugar for Dogs. Granulated table sugar can do wonders when it comes to wound management. Plus, you definitely have it in your kitchen. All you need to do is sprinkle sugar and put a bandage on the wound. Sugar has antibacterial effects and soaks up moisture, thus preventing the growth of bacteria. 

Our Final Thoughts on Neosporin on Dogs

giving your dog neosporin

Neosporin on dogs is very safe and makes a great addition to the canine first aid kit. Advertised as a triple antibiotic cream, Neosporin is great for preventing superficial wounds from getting infected. 

You just need to make sure your pup does not lick off the ointments before it gets absorbed. Also, keep in mind that this article is informative and for educating pet owners – it is not meant to be used as a substitute for veterinary advice. 


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