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Can You Use Hydrocortisone Cream On Dogs

Hydrocortisone is an active ingredient in several human skin treatment products, and this typically leaves a lot of dog owners wondering whether or not this substance can be used in treating their pooches’ skin irritation. So, can hydrocortisone cream be used on dogs?

Yes, specially formulated and dog-friendly products containing hydrocortisone can be used on dogs in treating skin irritation and inflammation. These products typically come in the form of creams, lotions and medicated shampoos, and only when used correctly, are effective in addressing irritation issues caused by canine skin infections.

It goes without saying that hydrocortisone can be toxic to a pooch when ingested in certain quantities. And this article covers the risks attached with using hydrocortisone cream on dogs, as well as first aid tips to take when dogs mistakenly ingest products containing this substance. But, before we go further, let’s see how hydrocortisone is applied to treat skin infections in dogs.

Is Hydrocortisone Cream Safe For Dogs?

Yes, specially formulated canine hydrocortisone cream is safe to use for dogs, provided it is correctly administered in the right dosage and appropriate situations.

How To Use Hydrocortisone Cream For Dogs?

The following are the steps to take to treat a dog’s skin problems with the hydrocortisone cream:

  • Before applying hydrocortisone on a dog’s body, it is recommended that you bathe the pooch with a mild, dog-friendly shampoo and then proceed to thoroughly dry the pooch.
  • Once this is done, you can apply a thin layer of the cream directly on the affected areas of the pooch’s skin; This should be done either 3 or 4 times daily, depending on instructions received from your vet.

The amount of hydrocortisone to be used in treating your pooch’s skin infection depends largely on the underlying medical condition, as well as the dog’s individual needs. This is why you shouldn’t administer this drug without a vet’s prescription.

Extra Tips For Using Hydrocortisone Cream For Dogs

  • Avoid applying hydrocortisone on an infected eye or nose, and this cream shouldn’t also be used on pregnant dogs.
  • Additionally, hydrocortisone cream shouldn’t be applied on open wounds or sores, as this may be too painful for the pooch to handle.
  • Also, when using hydrocortisone on your dog, ensure you apply the cream directly on the pooch’s skin, and not on the coat, to guarantee effective action.
  • Using a recovery cone will help prevent your pooch from licking the cream off its body.

What Is Hydrocortisone Used For?

Hydrocortisone cream is typically used to treat canine skin irritation and inflammation that is caused by any of the various skin infections that dogs are prone to, allergies or side effects of other medications, just to mention a few.

That said, some of the skin conditions that hydrocortisone is commonly used to treat include atopic dermatitis, canine hot spots, rashes caused by coming in contact with toxic plants such as poison oak, and Addison’s disease, among others.

Hydrocortisone products used for treating skin problems in dogs typically come in the form of creams, lotions, medicated shampoo and sprays that usually contain a high percentage of corticosteroids.

SPOTLIGHT: Check out your dog’s weight at with our very own puppy weight chart right here.

What Happens If My Dog Licks Hydrocortisone Cream?

Side effects of a dog licking hydrocortisone cream can include vomiting or diarrhea due to stomach irritation, increased thirst and urination, and panting.

Generally, if your dog has consumed little amounts of hydrocortisone cream, and not the entire tube of cream, you may not need to consult your vet immediately. Keeping the dog hydrated in the aftermath of ingesting the cream, while monitoring for side effects, should have the pooch feeling better in a matter of hours.

However, after some days, if you notice additional reactions to ingesting hydrocortisone, such as a loss of appetite and lethargy, you should pick up the phone and book an appointment with a vet right away!

Even when not ingested, prolonged use of hydrocortisone on dogs can result in side effects such as flaky or fragile skin. You should also monitor a pooch that is being treated with hydrocortisone for advanced reactions such as hives, swelling or breathing difficulties. Do contact your vet immediately if you observe the manifestation of any of these symptoms.

Can Dogs Use Human Hydrocortisone Cream?

Human-grade hydrocortisone cream isn’t FDA-approved for use on dogs. And in your pooch’s best interest, it is recommended that you avoid applying human-grade cream to treat its skin infections.

Various researches carried out into the use of hydrocortisone on dogs have shown that this cream can cause nasty side effects in pooches, if ingested in sizable quantities, either through licking or swallowing.

On a positive note, while human-grade hydrocortisone cream may not be suitable for use on dogs, there are several hydrocortisone-based products that have been specially designed for use in treating canine skin infections.

And these products are widely available for purchase over-the-counter at veterinary medicine retailers – with a vet’s prescription, of course!

SPOTLIGHT: Check out your dog’s weight at with our very own puppy weight chart right here.

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