Is Neosporin Safe for Pets?
Yes, it is OK to use Neosporin on your dog with veterinarian approval, but we do not recommend using it on cats.
After receiving some veterinarian feedback, we have restricted our recommendation to dogs only, as there have been reports of cats having life-threatening anaphylactic reactions to the antibiotic ingredients in Neosporin (most specifically in ophthalmic preparations that include neomycin and polymyxin B). For that reason, we do not recommend using Neosporin on a cat.
What, Exactly, is Neosporin?
Neosporin is a topical antibiotic ointment that helps prevent and fight infections, and can be used in a number of situations to help keep your pet happy and healthy. The active ingredients are neomycin, polymyxin B, and bacitracin, which all come together to stop bacteria growth.
Note that Neosporin is a brand name and there are other topical antibiotic ointments that you can also use on your pets. A very close alternative is Polysporin, a product that doesn’t contain neomycin, an ingredient that 10% of the population is allergic to. There are also some natural alternatives to Neosporin that you can use on your dog, including Curoxen and Burt’s Bees Res-Q Ointment.
How to Apply Neosporin on Dogs
After consulting your vet, you can apply Neosporin to your dog the same way you would on a human. Carefully cleanse the affected area by rinsing it with warm water and a drop of soap, if necessary. After gently patting dry, apply a thin layer of the antibacterial ointment over the affected area and then cover it with a pet-approved bandage. Try Nurtured Pets Anti-Lick Strip Prevent Bandage ($5), Nutri-Vet Bitter Pet Bandage ($8), or PawFlex MediMitt Disposable Dog Bandage ($10).
The bandage will prevent additional dirt or bacteria from entering the wound. It will also prevent your pet from licking the ointment away, which they’ll be very eager to do! You can also have your pet wear a cone for a few days to prevent any excessive licking. Change the bandage once or twice a day and you should see improvement within 24 to 72 hours.
Word to the Wise
It’s important to keep in mind that Neosporin — and all antibiotic ointments for that matter — are intended for usage on small cuts, scrapes, and burns. If your pet has a large wound, a very deep cut — or is already showing signs of a serious infection — please see your veterinarian for proper treatment.
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