Each week, Dr. Patrick Tate, chief of the veterinary staff and a general practitioner at , answers reader questions about pets. This week's question comes from reader Terri Sue Thompson.
Question: Is it safe to use peroxide and Neosporin on our animals if they have a cut or scratch?
Answer: There are quite a few over-the-counter "human" drugs and remedies that are safe for use with animals. However, always consult your veterinarian before trying out any type of product on your pets.
Neosporin (along with other types of antibiotic creams or ointments) is safe to use on skin wounds of dogs and cats. Unfortunately, animals often lick the medication until most of it is removed. Thankfully, antibiotic creams and ointments are not harmful to pets when ingested in small amounts.
Hydrogen peroxide is safe to use in cleansing the wound of an animal, but can sometimes cause a painful burning sensation. Instead of using hydrogen peroxide, I would recommend a warm, soapy solution. An antibacterial hand soap diluted with water cleans well, but does not irritate the pet’s skin. Note: hydrogen peroxide should not be used in the ears.
A few other “human” products that can be safely used on dogs and cats are:
- Hydrocortisone cream or ointment for treating a non-infected, localized rash
- Epsom salt solutions for soaking inflamed or infected extremities
- Oatmeal baths for soothing irritated skin
There are numerous books, magazines, websites and television programs dedicated to the topic of pet health care. Not all information from these sources is accurate or helpful, and some “remedies” can even be harmful. Use caution when attempting to self-treat your pet without the guidance of a veterinarian or other animal healthcare professional.