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What is an alternative to Neosporin for dogs?

Neosporin is a common over-the-counter antibiotic ointment used to treat minor cuts, scrapes, and burns in humans. While Neosporin is safe for use in people, it should not be used on dogs. Some ingredients in Neosporin can be toxic to dogs if ingested. Thankfully, there are a number of safe and effective alternatives to Neosporin that can be used to treat minor wounds in dogs.

Why Can’t Dogs Use Neosporin?

Neosporin contains three active ingredients: neomycin, polymyxin B, and bacitracin. Neomycin and polymyxin B are both antibiotics that help fight infection by killing bacteria. Bacitracin helps prevent infection by inhibiting bacterial growth. While these ingredients are beneficial for treating wounds in humans, they can cause side effects in dogs if ingested.

Neomycin in particular can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and deafness in dogs who lick Neosporin off their skin. Polymyxin B can also have neurotoxic effects in dogs. Since dogs instinctively lick at their wounds, it’s best to avoid any ointment containing these ingredients. Only a very small amount of Neosporin is needed to produce toxic effects in dogs.

The bacitracin in Neosporin is less toxic but can still potentially cause stomach upset if enough is ingested. Overall, it’s better to be safe than sorry and avoid using any medication containing neomycin, polymyxin B, or bacitracin on your dog. There are other options available that are specifically formulated to be safe and effective for dogs.

Best Neosporin Alternatives for Dogs

Here are some of the best over-the-counter alternatives to Neosporin to use on your dog’s minor cuts, scrapes, or burns:


Vetericyn is a topical antiseptic spray that can be used on dogs, cats, and horses. It contains hypochlorous acid, a compound produced naturally by the body’s immune cells to kill bacteria and viruses. The hypochlorous acid in Vetericyn kills pathogens while being gentle on healthy skin and tissue.

Vetericyn comes in both a spray format and as hydrogel for application on wounds. It helps treat and prevent infection while also soothing inflammation and pain. It can be used on all types of minor wounds, including cuts, scrapes, abrasions, burns, rashes, and hot spots. Vetericyn is safe if licked and contains no steroids, antibiotics, alcohol, or harsh chemicals. It’s a good over-the-counter option for treating minor dog wounds.

Silver Sulfadiazine Cream

Silver sulfadiazine cream is a topical antibiotic that contains 1% silver sulfadiazine. Silver has natural antibacterial properties that help prevent infection. Silver sulfadiazine cream is commonly used by veterinarians to treat burns and other wounds in dogs.

The silver prevents bacterial colonization while the sulfadiazine treats any infection present. Make sure to only use silver sulfadiazine creams formulated specifically for veterinary use. This medication typically requires a prescription from your vet. While it can sometimes be purchased over-the-counter, it’s best to check with your vet before applying it on your dog.

Triple Antibiotic Ointment (Without Neomycin)

Some triple antibiotic ointments meant for human use actually don’t contain neomycin, just bacitracin and polymyxin B. These can be safely used on dogs as long as they don’t contain any neomycin. Bacitracin and polymyxin B on their own have very minimal toxicity concerns.

Just be sure to check the active ingredients since many versions do contain neomycin. Apply the ointment sparingly and monitor your dog to ensure they don’t excessively lick it off. A small amount of polymyxin B and bacitracin likely won’t cause any issues for your dog if ingested. But it’s always better to play it safe.


Betadine is an iodine-based antiseptic solution used pre- and post-operatively to kill bacteria and prevent surgical site infections. While Betadine is more commonly used in veterinary clinics, diluted Betadine can also be used at home to treat minor wounds in dogs.

To use Betadine on your dog, dilute it with warm water. A 5% Betadine solution can be made by mixing 1 part Betadine with 10 parts water. Use gauze soaked in the dilute Betadine solution to gently wipe over your dog’s wound. Iodine helps prevent infection by killing microbes. Betadine can be used on all types of wounds as long as your dog doesn’t lick off the excess.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is another common household item that can be used to disinfect minor dog wounds. Hydrogen peroxide produces oxygen bubbles when applied to wounds, helping flush out dirt, debris and bacteria. Make sure to dilute regular 3% hydrogen peroxide for dogs. Mix one part hydrogen peroxide with eight parts water before applying it to the affected area with gauze.

Do not allow your dog to lick hydrogen peroxide, as ingesting too much can make them vomit. Rinse off the area with water after gently cleaning with diluted hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide helps prevent infection in mild wounds.

Artificial Tears/Eye Lubricants

For minor eye wounds, artificial tear ointments or gels can be applied. Lubricating eye drops or gels provide moisture while bathing the eye in helpful compounds like polyethylene glycol. Make sure any ophthalmic ointment used does not contain antibiotics if it will be used in dogs. If applying eye medication, be very careful not to accidentally injure your dog’s eye in the process. Seek veterinary care for any significant eye injuries or irritation.

Home First Aid for Minor Dog Wounds

Here are some other general tips for treating minor cuts, scrapes, or burns at home before applying an antibiotic ointment alternative:

Clean the Wound

Use soap and warm water to gently clean around the wound to remove saliva, dirt or debris. Avoid using hydrogen peroxide or alcohol, which can damage healthy tissue. Pat dry with a clean towel.

Apply Pressure

If bleeding, apply gentle pressure to the wound with a clean towel for 5-10 minutes until it clots. Elevate the area if possible.


Cover the wound with non-stick sterile gauze and bandage. This protects from infection and keeps the dog from licking. Change bandages daily.

Monitor for Signs of Infection

Look for increased redness, swelling, heat, discharge or pain which may indicate infection. Seek prompt veterinary care if infection develops.

Use an E-Collar

Place an Elizabethan collar on your dog if they excessively lick at wounds. Discourage licking to prevent infection and irritation.

See the Vet

Seek veterinary care for deep puncture wounds, significant bleeding, eye injuries or if you suspect foreign material is stuck in the wound. Prompt wound care reduces healing time.


While Neosporin should be avoided in dogs, there are plenty of other safe options to treat minor cuts, scrapes, and burns on your furry friend. Vetericyn, silver sulfadiazine cream, triple antibiotic ointment without neomycin, diluted Betadine, hydrogen peroxide, and artificial tears can help prevent infection and promote healing. Always monitor your dog closely and seek veterinary care if you have concerns about a wound getting worse. With proper first aid and the right topical medication, most minor dog wounds can heal on their own. Just be sure to keep your dog from excessively licking the area during the healing process.