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Can You Use Polysporin On Dogs? (What VETS Say)

If your dog picks up a small scrape or wound, you’ll want to know how to help. We often get questions about the usage of Polysporin on dogs. While it often proves to be a beneficial remedy for humans, does the same hold true for our four-legged friends?

Certain vets may recommend using Polysporin on dogs, while others may not. Even though the principal components, Bacitracin and Polymyxin B, are considered harmless for dogs, they can occasionally exacerbate the situation. As a result, alternative treatments are generally more favored.

can dogs use polysporin

Polysporin Basics

Polysporin is a dual-action antibiotic cream made for humans.

It helps heals minor wounds, scrapes, cuts, and burns while providing protection against infections

Polysporin is very common and it’s available globally.

While it usually requires a prescription in some places, it is often purchasable without one depending on your location.

➡️ Polysporin contains:

  • Bacitracin
  • Polymyxin B

Both of which are considered harmless for dogs.

Can Polysporin Be Used on Dogs?

Dr. Rachel Barrack, a well respected veterinarian confirmed that the two ingredients of Polysporin: Bacitracin and Polymyxin B, are recognized as safe for pets.

Becuase of this, many assume that’s it… It’s safe for dogs, and it can be used. But it’s not so simple.

As we said before, some veterinarians will use it, and others won’t. Many vets today argue that Polysporin is still not safe dogs and shouldn’t be used.

This is because this ointment was created for humans, not dogs.

Many bring forward the point that it has the potential to trigger allergic reactions that could actually aggravate the situation.

So what is it?

Quite a few vets say it’s okay to use a little bit of Polysporin for really small cuts or scratches, and only where the dog can’t lick it off.

In situations like this, Polysporin is likely safe to use, as long as your dog isn’t allergic to the cream.

You should always patch test a bit of the cream somewhere away from your dog’s face. This way, you can see if the cream causes any itching, swelling, redness, or pain.

Related: Can I Use Neosporin On My Dog’s Wound?

Neosporin vs Polysporin For Dogs

You’ve probably heard of both Polysporin and Neosporin, but what’s the difference in terms of giving it to dogs?

Neosporin has three ingredients, making it a triple antibiotic cream. Polysporin has only two ingredients making it a double antibiotic cream.

The additional ingredient in Neosporin is: Neomycin Sulfate.

➡️ The problem with Neosporin is that Neomycin isn’t confirmed safe for dogs yet, and it’s been tied to hearing issues. We don’t know if they’ll officially test it on dogs.

But like before, it gets a little controversial again. Even with this, a lot of vets still use and suggest Neosporin for small cuts and scratches on dogs, but only in small doses and where the dog can’t lick it off.

Between both, it might be safer to pick Polysporin rather than Neosporin as it doesn’t have Neomycin. But this isn’t expert advice, so you should talk to your vet first.

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Where You Should & Shouldn’t Use Polysporin

If you ever find yourself in a spot where you think a bit of Polysporin might help your dog, then it’s smart to know where you should and shouldn’t put it.

Where Not To Use It

  1. Ears, Eyes, Mouth

Always a no-no. Never put Polysporin (or Neosporin) near the eyes, ears, or mouth.

You don’t want your dog to lick the cream, eat it, or get it in his ears or eyes. This could make your dog very sick and might cause a lot of irritation.

  1. Paws

The usual spot where dogs get scratches and cuts is on their paws and legs.

You could use Polysporin here, but you’ll probably need to use a bandage to stop your dog from licking the cream off.

But using a bandage might make your dog want to rip it off and check out the area even more.

Where To Use It

The best spot to use Polysporin is where your dog can’t easily get to it.

Depending on your dog and how big they are, they might not be able to reach their rear end, back, some parts of their belly, or neck.

If your dog can’t lick it, and it’s not close to his ears, eyes, or mouth, then it’s probably a “safer” place to put Polysporin.

The last thing we want is for our dog to ingest Polysporin.

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Other Options Besides Polysporin

Since Polysporin isn’t made for dogs, it makes sense that a lot of owners would avoid using it.

What else can you use that will help your pup with a small cut, scratch, or wound?

● Vaseline

If the graze or wound is just a small one and it’s clean and dry, you can use Vaseline (petroleum jelly) safely. Vaseline keeps out bacteria and generally stops bacteria from growing. Remember, the wound needs to be completely dry and clean before using it.

● Warm water & soap

Apart from vaseline the next best thing is to gently wash the wound with warm soapy water (only a gentle soap), dry it well, and talk to your dog’s doctor.

Sometimes, this is all that’s needed for the wound to heal. But this does depend on where it is and how bad it is.

If you’re not sure about any cut or scratch your dog has, no matter how small it might seem, it’s always best to talk to your dog’s doctor and let them check it out. Acting fast is always the best thing to do.

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Minor Wound Care Tips

No matter if you want to use Polysporin or not, here are some additional tips to help your dog if they have a minor wound or scrape.

● If the wound is small, not deep, and not bleeding much, then you might not need to take your dog to the vet.

● A “small” wound is seen as less than 1 inch long, not deep, and with neat edges.

● If the cut is wider, longer, rough, deep, or bleeding a lot, then you should get help from your dog’s doctor as soon as you can.

● Small scratches, wounds, and cuts should be cleaned gently with warm soapy water. Only use a gentle soap for this, and don’t use strong soaps or cleaning liquids (like Dawn or other dish soaps).

● Dry the spot well with a clean towel that you haven’t used for anything else.

● Depending on the wound, you might want to leave it alone, put a bandage on it, use a little bit of Vaseline, or go for Polysporin. My Dog Ate Vaseline! What Happens Now?.

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Final Thoughts

Some vets say it’s okay to use Polysporin on dogs, depending on where the wound is and how bad it is, and others say you shouldn’t use it.

In the best scenario, if your dog gets a cut, you should clean it as well as you can, dry it, and get help from your dog’s doctor.

Your dog might do well with Polysporin, or they might not. If they don’t, it could make things even worse.

If your dog’s doctor says it’s okay, you can ask them to help you put it on while you’re at the vet, where everything is controlled.

While lots of people have had good results using Polysporin on small cuts on dogs, that doesn’t mean it will work for your dog.

Remember that it’s always best to consult your veterinarian first before giving anything to your dog that wasn’t made for dogs!


Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. Please read our full dislcaimer if you have any questions.