It is not recommended to use hydrogen peroxide on dogs with skin infections. In small doses, hydrogen peroxide might provide some short-term benefits, but it’s also likely to irritate your dog’s skin, especially if it’s left on for too long.
If your dog has contracted a skin infection, or if you’re worried that an infection may occur, it’s important to discuss the issue with your veterinarian immediately.
Many dog owners consider hydrogen peroxide treatments for their dog’s skin infections—after all, we humans use it on our skins, so why not on our pooch?
Hydrogen peroxide is typically not recommended as a treatment for dog skin infections because the adverse effects outweigh the benefits.
To understand why you shouldn’t use hydrogen peroxide for your dog’s skin infection, we first need to understand what hydrogen peroxide is.
What Is Hydrogen Peroxide?
Hydrogen peroxide is an unstable compound made up of two oxygen atoms and two hydrogen atoms, hence its chemical formula: H2O2. It’s colorless, transparent, and has a faint, sweet odor.
It is one of several oxidizing agents, which are compounds that can release oxygen molecules to fight infections or clean wounds. The second most common oxidizing agent in use today is phenol, but hydrogen peroxide has become much more popular in recent years because it’s safe for people to handle and can easily be applied to animals.
While you shouldn’t drink it (and your dog shouldn’t either), small amounts won’t harm your pet if they get some on their skin or fur or ingest it by accident during grooming.
While hydrogen peroxide is readily available, you should know that it can be harmful to dogs if used incorrectly or over long periods. It can irritate your dog’s skin and make them more susceptible to bacterial infections.
Dangers of Using Hydrogen Peroxide on Dog Skin
Hydrogen peroxide shouldn’t be used on your dog’s skin for several reasons. Although it might have a few short-term benefits in small doses, hydrogen peroxide can irritate your pet’s skin, especially when left on too long.
Some common side effects of using hydrogen peroxide on your dog’s skin include:
- Skin irritation and rashes
- Vomiting (if your dog licks themselves where you’ve applied the hydrogen peroxide)
- Irritation or damage to healthy skin
- Slows down the healing process
- May cause infections
Hydrogen peroxide is also highly corrosive to pets’ eyes; it can cause eye irritation or worse if they get it in their eyes. Applying hydrogen peroxide to your dog’s skin infection may also cause your dog unnecessary pain.
To avoid these side effects, look into other alternatives to treat your dog’s skin infections. Talk with your vet and try over-the-counter treatments until you find something that works better and is less harmful to your pet’s health.
How Effective is Hydrogen Peroxide on Dogs?
Initially, hydrogen peroxide can be effective in flushing out a wound on your dog, but long-term use causes further skin irritations and health complications. For this reason, you should not use hydrogen peroxide to treat a dog’s skin infection.
Consult your vet before using anything (especially hydrogen peroxide) for skin infections and closely follow their directions for home remedies. Dogs with weak immune systems, like those with mange or other parasites, may be susceptible to infections after using an antibacterial remedy at home.
If your dog has a skin infection, there are better alternatives than hydrogen peroxide, such as medications prescribed by your vet and other natural at-home remedies.
Is There Anything Else You Can Use Instead of Hydrogen Peroxide?
If your dog has a skin infection, the best remedy is one that your vet recommends. They can examine your dog and prescribe medications to treat it appropriately.
An untrained eye may have trouble distinguishing whether a rash or infection is bacterial, allergic, or caused by something else, so you should consult a doctor.
If you’re looking for a home remedy for your dog’s skin infection, you can try:
Either mix it into a paste with water and apply it directly to the skin or mix the baking soda into your dog’s bathwater.
You may not see results immediately, but adding omega-3 fatty acids and other vitamins and minerals to your dog’s diet can help clear up skin infections.
Bathe your dog using oatmeal shampoo to help soothe their skin and clear up skin infections. However, don’t bathe your dog too often, as this can exacerbate the infection.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Make a mix of 50% apple cider vinegar and 50% water and apply to your dog’s infected skin. Note that this may be painful for your dog (imagine putting vinegar on an open wound), so it might not be the best option.
Coconut oil contains many healing properties and can encourage the healing of skin infections in dogs. Simply apply a coat onto the skin.
You may end up with some issues, however, if your dog enjoys the taste of the coconut oil and licks it all off. They may end up making their skin infection worse (from licking it too much) and may also end up ingesting too much coconut oil.
Apply some aloe vera to the dog’s skin. If possible, use fresh aloe vera directly from the plant, since creams and gels containing aloe vera may contain additives that can cause harm to your dog. Simply break off an aloe vera leaf/stalk to expose the gel inside, then apply it to your dog’s skin.
Green Tea or Herbal Bath
If your dog doesn’t mind being pampered and taking warm baths, you can try soaking your dog’s skin infection in a green tea bath with other essential oils that can help with healing. However, you should be careful when using oils since too much can aggravate the infection.
How to Treat Skin Infections on Dogs
The best way to treat skin infections in dogs is to get professional advice from a veterinarian. Antibiotics are often required when dealing with dog skin infections and are administered orally rather than topically.
Keeping your dog clean and well-groomed is one of your best defenses against infections. Keep them in a spotlessly clean environment so they aren’t exposed to dirt, bacteria, or other elements that could irritate their skin.
If you see your dog licking or scratching frequently, take them to a vet right away; it could indicate an infection brewing beneath their skin.
Treating skin infections can be difficult without proper education. Make sure you ask your vet what to do before treating your dog at home, otherwise, it could spread bacteria and worsen rather than improve their condition.
When treating a skin infection at home, speak with your veterinarian about all possible options for effectively getting rid of the infection without causing complications or worsening the existing infection.
Is it Ever Ok to Use Hydrogen Peroxide to Treat Dog Skin Infections?
The only time it’s ok to use hydrogen peroxide on your dog is:
- Initial flushing of wounds
- To induce vomiting (e.g., if your dog has ingested poison)
- To clean minor scrapes and wounds
Though it may seem logical to use hydrogen peroxide on skin infections because of its purported antiseptic properties, some studies have found that it can cause skin irritation and possibly destroy beneficial flora in your dog’s system. This makes it harder for your dog’s body to fight infection by killing off good bacteria along with germs that cause infection.
Some veterinary professionals also caution against using products containing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide on any animal’s open wounds, as both can dehydrate your pet and slow down healing time.
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