It’s perfectly safe to use diaper rash cream on your dog. However, it’s important your dog does not ingest the cream. Most diaper rash creams contain Zinc Oxide. When consumed in excessive amounts, it can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and loss of appetite.
There’s little worse in this world than seeing your furry friend suffer from the discomfort of a nasty rash. Dogs get rashes all the time due to a myriad of reasons that I’ll delve into later. But is it safe to apply diaper rash cream to your dog’s rash? Is it even effective to use this kind of cream on your dog?
Is Diaper Rash Cream Safe?
When it comes to healing your dog’s rashes, it’s perfectly safe to use diaper rash cream. Brands such as Boudreaux’s, Desitin, and Aquaphor are all very effective remedies for rashes. They won’t cause any additional skin irritation because it works essentially the same way it would on a baby’s skin.
The primary safety concern you should have, however, is ingestion. It would be very dangerous for your dog if they ingested the creme. This is because most rash creams contain Zinc Oxide. While this compound is highly effective when treating skin irritation, it should not be ingested under any circumstances, especially by your dog.
We all know that dogs lick their own bodies very frequently. It’s their natural way of cleaning themselves. They typically do this when they sense a foreign object in their fur or have some kind of skin irritation. If your dog has a rash, you’ve probably seen them excessively lick and nibble at their skin to satisfy their itchiness.
This can be a huge problem if you apply rash cream to the dog. Excessive amounts of Zinc Oxide ingestion can cause serious health issues to your dog, such as gastrointestinal tract inflammation. Symptoms of this include (but are not limited to) abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and loss of appetite.
How to Safely Apply Diaper Rash Cream to Your Dog
Depending on where the rash is, it can be very easy to safely use the cream. If the rash is anywhere on the dog’s shoulders, you can apply the cream without worry. The dog won’t be able to reach the area with their tongue, so there’s minimal risk of ingestion there. Just keep an eye on your dog. The only chance they have to eat the cream is by using their back leg to scratch the cream off, then licking it off their paw.
Next, if the rash is somewhere behind the dog’s shoulder, perhaps on their stomach, rear end, or ribcage, use a dog cone. Although they’re known colloquially as the “cone of shame”, there’s no shame in using these devices. These cones effectively prevent dogs from licking their bodies when you don’t want them to. They’re perfect devices for using rash cream, and there is a 0% chance of ingestion as long as the cone remains on their neck.
Another method you could use if the rash is in this area is to put a shirt or sweater on your dog that covers the rash. While this may seem silly, it’s a great solution to the problem. Apply the cream, then put the shirt on the dog. Once you’ve done that, the dog cannot lick the cream nor further irritate the rash.
Lastly, if the dog’s rash is somewhere on their head, such as their nose, things get tricky. There’s really no way to prevent a dog from licking its nose. So what do you do if there’s a rash on their nose? The best thing to do is use a dog-specific rash cream or use tiny amounts of diaper rash cream on your dog. There are rash creams that are specially formulated for dogs and can be ingested by them harmlessly.
While Zinc Oxide is dangerous to ingest, your dog will be ok if it laps up a light amount. If you have no choice but to use diaper rash lotion on your dog’s nose, just use it very sparingly. However, no matter how light the layer of cream is, the dog will certainly notice, thanks to their incredible sense of smell. In this case, using dog-specific cream is the best option.
What to Do if Your Dog Ingested Zinc Oxide
While we try our best to prevent dogs from ingesting rash cream, it happens. Dogs are pretty clever, and if they want to get something off their body, they will find a way. If you have witnessed your dog licking rash cream off their body, or suspect that they did, here’s what you can do to make sure they’re safe.
Try to find out exactly how much cream they ingested and when they ingested it. This is very crucial information. If your dog ingested a significant amount of Zinc Oxide (greater than or equal to 108g/3.8oz), get poison control help. If not, your dog will only have an upset stomach, and these home remedies will likely do the trick.
Fast your dog from 12-24 hours. While this may seem cruel, it’s important to allow them to empty any toxins out of their stomach. Also, if the dog is suffering from diarrhea or vomiting, feeding the dog it’s regular diet will not help.
Introduce a Basic Diet
After the fasting period:
- Feed your dog a basic diet of boiled and skinless chicken along with some rice.
- Make sure not to add any kind of oil or seasoning, as it may further irritate your dog’s stomach.
- Feed the dog small portions of this meal 3-5 times a day.
Use a Probiotic
Adding a natural probiotic like yogurt, honey, kimchi, or onions to their diet will help soothe their stomach. There are also dog-specific probiotic supplements that will help.
These solutions are only effective for small amounts of Zinc Oxide ingestion, amounts less than 108g/3.8oz. This number also depends on your dog’s mass. For the exact amount of Zinc Oxide your dog can ingest, divide your dog’s weight in grams by 28.35. Once the dog ingests this level of Zinc Oxide, it becomes toxic. If this happens, call poison control.
If not, and your dog only seems to have an upset stomach, they probably ingested a tiny bit of the cream. This isn’t too dangerous, and the methods above will help your dog overcome its upset stomach.
Is Diaper Rash Cream Effective?
Will diaper rash cream work to get rid of a dog’s rash? The consensus is yes, diaper rash cream is useful for treating dog rashes. The formula works the exact same way on dog skin as it does for human skin. The only problem with using rash cream designed for people is that dogs could try to ingest it instinctively.
This is the main advantage of using dog-specific rash cream. There’s no risk even if your dog ingests the cream. But, if you’re in a pinch and you can’t get dog rash cream for any reason, regular diaper rash cream will do the trick.
Avoiding Future Rashes
Applying any kind of medicine to your dog can be a total pain. They’re not used to having medicine administered to them, and you can’t really tell them what’s going on. It makes it easier if the dog trusts, but it varies from dog to dog. Here are the leading causes of rashes in dogs:
Natural Skin Irritants
There is a myriad of natural skin irritants that affect dogs. Many of them are the same as those that affect us, including poison ivy, poison oak, stinging nettles, and ragweed. These plants will cause minor rashes in your dog that could grow if not treated. If these plants are in your area, make sure your dog doesn’t come into contact with them.
Rashes can be the result of parasites. Fleas, ticks, and mites can do more than bite your dog. The parasites can cause mange, a condition that causes clumps of dead skin and dried blood to stick to their fur. Your dog will develop rashes and lose patches of hair when this happens. Use flea and tick repellent if parasites are an issue.
Some dogs are vulnerable to allergens during certain seasons. On top of that, dogs have several food allergies that could cause rashes. Keep a close eye on what your dog eats, and make sure they’re ok during allergy season.
A lack of hygiene can lead to both fungal and bacterial infections. Give your dog frequent baths, and always check your dog for small injuries to prevent infections.
Administer With Care
For all intents and purposes, diaper rash cream or any other rash cream will work for dogs. All you need to know is that any product that is not specifically designed for dogs must be administered with care. The key takeaway from this article is that you CAN use diaper rash cream on dogs, but you must prevent them from ingesting it. If you can do that, diaper rash cream is very safe and effective.
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Bryan Harkins is an avid dog lover and the proud owner of dogdorable.com, a website dedicated to all things canine. With years of experience working with dogs, Bryan is passionate about providing valuable information, tips, and resources to help pet owners provide the best possible care for their furry companions.