Can You Put Calamine Lotion On Dogs?
We know how big your love is for your canine companion. You would do anything to relieve them from any problem they’re facing.
As seasons come and go, your dog’s skin goes through many changes as well. Sometimes it brings seasonal allergies, causing itchy paws, and other times it can dry his sensitive nose. Whether it’s the change of season, your air conditioner, or a small bug, various things can be a trigger for a skin problem.
Watching your dog itching and scratching with discomfort is a painful sight for all dog owners. All they want to do is reach out for any OTC product to help relieve the inflammation.
Unfortunately, you cannot use any product that you use for your skin on your dog. Many skin products that we use contain chemical ingredients that can be harmful if ingested.
Dogs are likely to lick off the product from their skin, which can be potentially dangerous. For this reason, any product you use on your dog has to be entirely safe for your dog.
You should bear in mind that human-oriented products are specifically for humans only. Calamine lotion, for example, is an OTC medication that is commonly used for mild itchiness. But can you put Calamine lotion on dogs? Read on to find out!
Can You Use Calamine Lotion on Dogs?
Calamine is a soothing pink lotion commonly used to treat mild itchiness and inflammation problems. The cause of itchiness can be from sunburn, poison ivy, insect bites, etc. It is applied topically on the skin as a cream or lotion and helps dry out oozing skin irritation. For humans, it can be used for various skin conditions, including allergic skin reactions to some plants, chickenpox, shingles, insect bites, minor burns, etc.
When it comes to your dog, Caladryl, commonly known as Calamine lotion, is not recommended. The formula contains zinc oxide (ZnO) and iron oxide (Fe2O3) and other ingredients that are harmful if ingested. Just like your sunscreen can make your dog your dog sick if it ingests it, Calamine lotion also damages a dog’s red blood cells. It causes them to rupture, resulting in anemia, vomiting, and diarrhea. That said, Calamine lotion is not toxic for the skin of your dog, but licking at it can cause serious problems.
The example of Calamine lotion also gives us a simple guide about what products are safe to use for dogs. Any skin-soothing product that you want to use should be 100% dog-safe. It must not contain the following ingredients as they are toxic to dogs:
- Zinc oxide, which is commonly added in various topical creams
- Diclofenac, which is used to treat joint pain
- Calcipotriene, which is used to treat psoriasis
- Lidocaine, which is a numbing agent
- Hydrocortisone, whether on its own or in calamine lotion
Several other ingredients in topical products can be harmful to dogs if ingested. So, it is best that before using any cream, gel, or spray, check the ingredients and consult your vet. It cannot be emphasized enough that you must avoid rubbing products containing zinc on your dog. If you have applied, in any case, make sure your pet does not lick it off his skin.
Since using Calamine lotion on dogs is not recommended, here are other natural remedies to soothe a dog’s itchy skin.
Can You Put Calamine Lotion on Dogs If There Is an Emergency?
Since the topical application of Calamine lotion is not harmful to dogs, you can use it on your dog in case of an emergency. But it is important to take your pet to the vet immediately and ensure that your pet does not ingest it meanwhile. Insect bites and stings can cause severe reactions that have to be treated right away.
Bees, wasps, spiders, centipedes, scorpions, hornets, etc. can sting dogs that can cause painful swelling and inflammation. The first thing you have to do in this case is to remove the stinger and give first-aid to your dog. First-aid is incredibly important to prevent the bite from getting worse. In such a situation, you can put calamine lotion on your dog to relive itching until you take it to the clinic.
You can use the calamine lotion on your dog in the following steps:
- Part the hair of your dog and find the spot where the insect bit it. Often, bees leave their stingers, which appear like small black sacs. Remove the stinger with the help of a card or tweezers. It is vital to dislodge from its skin; otherwise, the stinger will continue to release venom.
- Make a paste of baking soda and water. You can take half a teaspoon of baking soda and one teaspoon of water. Now apply it to the sting.
- The next step is to take a few ice cubes in a plastic bag or an ice pack and hold it against the sting. This step will relieve the pain and swelling of the sting.
- Now apply Calamine lotion to the affected area, which will relieve the itching.
- After the application, you have to make sure your dog does not lick off the lotion. You can use an Elizabethan plastic collar around its neck to prevent it from licking it. You can also cover the area with a cloth or bandage to prevent your dog from ingesting the lotion.
- The last step of the first-aid is to take your dog immediately to a veterinarian for checkup and treatment.
What Would Happen if Your Dog Ate Calamine Lotion?
The primary active ingredient in Calamine lotion is zinc. This metallic element is what can potentially be dangerous for your canine friend. Any product with high levels of zinc is thus, harmful for your dog. You have to make sure that your dog does not taste or swallow it at all.
Although the topical application does not pose any risk, it is best to avoid using Calamine lotion. Following symptoms should alert you if your dog accidentally ate calamine lotion:
Early Signs of Zinc Ingestion in Dogs
Calamine lotion is not like any other toxic substance that would only upset the stomach of your dog. Ingestion of zinc has also resulted in the death of many dogs. While licking a small amount might not be life-threatening, you should still take your dog to a vet. The following symptoms will signify the onset of zinc toxicity in your dog:
- Anorexia or lack of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Gum discoloration
- Reddish-colored urine
All of these symptoms will appear some hours or a day after your dog has ingested Calamine lotion. If your dog has ingested a large amount, the symptoms will aggravate readily, and it will cause serious problems.
Severe Symptom: Zinc Poisoning
Zinc is an essential element that humans and dogs both need in their bodies in trace amounts. If the amount exceeds more than the need, it can cause serious health problems. Many ways can lead to zinc poisoning in dogs.
Zinc is commonly found in different products around our house, like coins, pet carriers, etc. Calamine lotion can also be one of the products that can cause this problem. Zinc poisoning occurs when a dog ingests too much of this element, leading to serious medical conditions. The severity of the poisoning depends on the quantity of consumption and the size of your pet.
The symptoms of zinc poisoning do not start showing until after a few hours or even days of ingestion. Apart from the early signs of zinc poisoning, you will also notice an irregular heartbeat and yellowish color of eyes and skin.
If this condition is neglected and kept untreated, it can lead to serious problems. Some of such problems include anemia, seizures, organ damage (liver and kidneys), and heart problems. Many pet owners also try to induce vomiting if their pet has ingested zinc in any form, which is also a bad idea. Do not even feed your dog and take him to a vet right away. You can also call the pet poison helpline immediately if your pet’s condition aggravates quickly.
Treatment of Zinc Poisoning
The initial symptoms of zinc poisoning are vomiting and diarrhea. Many pet owners mistake these early symptoms for a normal stomach upset or digestive problem. Therefore, you must refrain from self-diagnosis at home. Treatment of zinc poisoning has to start immediately after the onset of the early symptoms. A good prognosis is only possible if you will take your pet immediately to a vet.
Once you take your dog to the clinic, the vet will ask you for a history of your pet’s recent behavior. If you have used Calamine lotion on your dog and you have seen it lick it off, notify the vet immediately. Even if you only suspect that your dog ate calamine lotion as it was within your pet’s reach, you should inform your vet. The vet will then conduct a complete physical examination for any signs of muscle weakness. Other symptoms the vet will check for are rapid heart rate and difficulty in breathing.
After the physical examination, the vet will then take a radiograph of the gastrointestinal tract to check the presence of any foreign object. However, this is not the only test to confirm the presence of zinc in your pet’s body. Your vet will run various tests to confirm zinc poisoning and the level of toxicity. These tests are also to check if the poisoning has damaged any vital organs. Your vet will run the following tests:
- A complete blood count
- Serum chemistry
- Biochemistry profile
- Coagulation profile
- Urine test
The vet might also get an x-ray, and the treatment might also include blood transfusions. If your dog has consumed only a small amount of Calamine lotion, defecation or vomiting might remove the excess zinc from the body. The success of the treatment depends on how promptly you responded to the early symptoms and the amount of zinc your dog consumed.
Possible Complications After the Treatment
If the condition of your dog is serious, it might get complications even after the treatment. It all depends on the severity of organ damage due to the toxicity and the health of your dog. Some possible complications that might occur after the treatment are:
- Severe anemia
- Liver problems
- Kidney damage
- Chronic pancreatitis
- Intravascular coagulation; a condition in which the proteins that regulate blood clotting become overactive. This condition can result in spontaneous bleeding and might also prevent blood flow to organs.
Therefore, after the treatment, your vet will keep your dog under observation for some days. The vet will check your dog regularly to ensure that there are no complications. Bringing your dog back home right after the treatment can lead to these complications mentioned above.
What Are Calamine Alternatives to Treat Itchiness?
If you have ever experienced a skin reaction, you can probably relate how uncomfortable and irritating itchy skin can be. Our canine companions experience itchy skin at least once in their lifetime. Seeing your pet scratching constantly will make you want to find instant relief for it. While Calamine lotion might seem like a got OTC medication for it, you should not risk your dog’s well-being. Luckily, different home remedies can help you treat this condition.
However, first things first, you should find out the underlying cause of the itchiness before treatment. You can only relieve your dog of the discomfort if you are first able to identify the root of the problem. There can be various causes of constant itchiness. It could be due to physical irritation, chemical changes as a result of a disease, reaction of a medication, or simply an allergy. So, before any treatment, it is best to consult a vet first.
That said, here are some home remedies that you can use as an alternative for Calamine lotion:
Coconut oil is one of the best home remedies to heal your dog’s itchy skin naturally. It contains lauric acid and has many antiseptic and anti fungal properties. If your dog’s itchy skin is due to any bacterial infection, the coconut oil is excellent for fighting the infection. Coconut oil rarely has any side effects, so that you can use it on your dog without any worries. Rub the oil on the infected area of the skin for a few days, and if the condition aggravates, take your pet to the vet.
Oatmeal is also a good alternative to Calamine lotion to provide some relief from itchy skin. It is non-toxic topical treatment, and it does not pose any risk to your dog even if it licks it off. All you have to do is grind plain oatmeal and mix it with water to make a paste. Now, apply the paste on the affected area of the skin. The oatmeal will dry the moist, red skin, and provide relief from itching and irritation.
Apart from this home remedy, you can also find many oatmeal dog shampoos and lotions for dry skin. They have soothing properties that can help make your dog feel better. Especially, oatmeal shampoos remove allergens like pollen from your dog’s fur. If the itchy skin is due to an allergy or reaction of a drug, using oatmeal products is a sound choice.
You must be familiar with aloe vera’s antibacterial properties. It is an essential ingredient in many skin products and medications. It is equally beneficial for your dog’s itchy skin as well. If you choose to use aloe vera for your dog, buy a product that does not contain alcohol. This is because alcohol can cause inflammation or even burn your dog’s skin. If you have an aloe vera plant, you can extract the aloe vera gel at home and use it on the affected area of the skin. It will soothe the itchy skin and boost healing.
Watch the video below on Calamine alternatives for canine skin.
Should You Get Veterinary Help for Itchy Canine Skin?
The home remedies for itchy skin will only give temporary relief from itching, especially if it is a serious problem. If your dog has an allergy, a bacterial or fungal infection, it will need medical attention. If the problem persists on for weeks after you have tried home remedies, you should schedule a visit to the vet.
The vet will determine the cause of itchy skin and start the treatment that it needs right away. In case of an allergy, your dog might need allergy testing to find out the root cause. After finding out the cause, the vet will prescribe medications and topical lotions to treat the problem.
Final Thoughts On Can You Use Calamine Lotion On Dogs
Like humans, your dog can develop itchy and dry skin due to various reasons. Some skin conditions might need an immediate visit to the vet, while others can be treated at home. No matter what product you decide to use on your dog, make sure that it is 100% dog-safe.
If you choose to use Calamine lotion due to an emergency, keep your dog under observation. Ensure that your dog does not ingest it as its ingredients can be harmful to your pet. That said, in any case, the right way to put an end to your pet’s discomfort is to get medical treatment.
Paul Cook is an avid pet and animal enthusiast. He spent much of her childhood on a small farm in rural Iowa. When in high school, Paul nursed an entire box of newborn, and recently dumped, kittens back to health, and successfully found homes for all of them. He’s presently the dog-dad of nine beautiful dogs, Bruno, Lester, Sandy, Bailey, Dio, Pat, Max, Brutus, and Nora. In his career life, Paul has 20+ years of writing experience as a content writer and content collaborator across a host of verticals. When he is not writing, he is spending time with his dogs.