As loving pet parents, we’re always looking for ways to keep our dogs happy and healthy. Dogs, like humans, can develop uncomfortably dry skin.
The question is, what can we safely apply to our dogs?
Aquaphor is a safe solution for dogs with dry skin because of its mild, non-toxic formulation.
This gentle, petroleum-based ointment is free from fragrances, dyes, and other irritants that could harm your pooch.
This post includes a list of ways to use Aquaphor and a safe Aquaphor application for your dog.
Is Aquaphor safe for dogs?
Aquaphor, which can be purchased over-the-counter, is considered safe to use on mild wounds and abrasions in dogs.
The humectant ingredients found in Aquaphor Healing Ointment can be found in many dog products, including shampoo. These include:
Petrolatum (41%) Active Ingredient
You might recognize this ingredient as pure petroleum jelly, the main ingredient in Vaseline. Aquaphor uses this moisturizing ingredient along with other ingredients to promote healing.
Panthenol is the moisturizing substance found in vitamin B5. This ingredient is commonly found in hair conditioners, body washes, and some dog shampoos.
When placed on the skin, panthenol converts to vitamin B5. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) considers it to be a safe nutrient or dietary supplement with a very low risk of skin irritation.
Glycerin is used as a humectant in skin care products. This moisturizing ingredient works by drawing water from the atmosphere. That water then hydrates and softens the skin.
Ceresin is an emulsifier that prevents liquids that don’t normally mix well from separating.
This mineral wax comes from shale rocks or coal.
Lanolin alcohol comes from animal skin (highly purified fraction of lanolin wool wax). It’s used as a skin protectant in petrolatum-based products.
Lanolin has the reputation of causing contact allergic dermatitis in some people and animals. However, an abstract published by PubMed, “The Myth of Lanolin Allergy“, suggests that is not the case.
Aquaphor Side Effects in Dogs
This non-toxic substance is suitable for external use on dry, cracked skin, or minor wounds. However, if a dog happens to lick too much or swallow some from the tube, there may be some stomach upset.
Side effects if consumed could include:
- Severe Diarrhea
Licking a small amount of the ointment from the skin will probably not result in digestive upset. However, the more you can keep out of your dog’s mouth, the better.
Side effects of skin application could include:
- Mild irritation
When used sparingly, these side effects are unlikely or very mild.
Is Aquaphor the same as Vaseline?
Aquaphor is a petroleum jelly-like product that contains additional healing ingredients.
Vaseline primarily acts as a skin barrier and moisturizer.
Where should you not use Aquaphor?
Aquaphor shouldn’t be used on deep wounds or serious burns. You should speak with your veterinarian about how much and how often to use the product on your dog.
Try to prevent your dog from licking the ointment from the skin. You may need to temporarily place an “e collar” on your dog, at least until the ointment has a chance to sink in.
How to Safely Use Aquaphor on a Dog’s Dry Skin
Anecdotally, people have used Aquaphor safely on dogs for the treatment of cracked or dry skin on a dog’s nose or paws.
It provides a protective barrier over minor wounds and hot spots.
Pet owners have used Aquaphor to soothe:
- A dog’s paws
- A dog’s nose
- A dog’s hot spot
- Scaly elbows
- Minor wounds
Healing ointments like Aquaphor can help ease the discomfort of crusty noses in dogs with conditions like hyperkeratosis.
How do I use Aquaphor for dogs?
To use Aquaphor, start by cleaning the skin with mild soap and warm water.
Pat dry the area gently and apply a thin coat of Aquaphor to the skin. A little goes a long way!
You may need to repeat treatment a couple of times a day.
The best time to apply is after your dog has had an opportunity to burn off excess energy. Nervous and obsessive dog licking can happen if your dog is bored or hasn’t had enough exercise.
Mental and physical stimulation help tire out a dog and relieve symptoms of anxiety that can lead to obsessive licking.
Home Remedies for Dry Dog Skin
Before trying home remedies on your dog, it’s wise to consult with a veterinarian. Dogs can have different skin sensitivities and underlying health conditions that may require specific treatments.
Once a definitive diagnosis is obtained, the veterinarian can recommend medicated shampoos, ointments, or oral medications tailored to your dog’s needs.
This can help minimize the risk of potential complications or worsening of the condition.
Home remedies for minor skin issues
If your dog has minor skin issues like mild itchy skin, drying, or minor irritations, the following home remedies may help.
The best idea is to exercise caution.
Remember that while some home remedies may provide temporary relief, they don’t address any underlying issues that could be contributing to the problem.
Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) may have natural anti-inflammatory properties to help your furry friend with itchiness, inflammation, and minor skin irritations.
Fill a tub or basin with warm water for your dog. Add a small amount of Epsom salts and let it dissolve in the water.
Let your dog soak in the tub for 10-15 minutes if your dog will allow it. Take the time to gently massage your dog’s skin to help distribute the Epsom salt solution and promote circulation.
Rinse your dog’s fur thoroughly and dry with a towel.
Ask your veterinarian how often you should bathe your pup in Epsom salts. Bathing too often may dry out your dog’s skin or disrupt the skin’s natural pH balance.
Tea bags can be used in a number of ways, depending on the specific condition you’re addressing. Some common uses of tea bags for dogs include:
- Use non-caffeinated chamomile tea to soothe mild eye irritation. Steep the tea bag in water and allow it to cool completely before placing on your dog’s closed eyelid.
- Try the same procedure with green tea bags. Apply the cooled tea bag to your dog’s minor skin irritations (small cuts, insect bites, or hot spots).
Coconut oil works well on short-haired dogs and can be used to add moisture to the skin and shine to the coat.
Take a tablespoon of coconut oil and warm it up between your palms. Once it softens enough to use, dab small amounts all over your dog (watch out for the face and eyes).
Use your hands or your dog’s regular brush or comb to work the coconut oil through the fur.
It’s okay if your dog licks a little of it. Try to distract your dog so that it has time to fully absorb.
If you notice any increased irritation or worsening of the skin, discontinue use and contact the veterinarian.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Diluted apple cider vinegar can be applied as required directly to your dog’s skin.
Use cotton balls or a clean cloth soaked in the diluted solution and gently apply it to the affected areas.
Hydrogen peroxide can be dabbed sparingly to clean minor wounds on dogs.
Hydrogen peroxide can also be used to neutralize the smell of skunk on dogs. In a mixing bowl, combine 1 quart (950 ml) of 3% hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup (60 ml) of baking soda, and 1-2 teaspoons (5-10 ml) of liquid dish soap.
Mix the ingredients together and rub them thoroughly into your dog’s fur. Let it sit on your dog’s fur as long as your dog will allow it.
Rinse thoroughly. Shampoo your dog and rinse again. It can take a long time for the smell of skunk to work its way out of your dog’s fur.
Multiple applications may be necessary.
High-quality olive oil can be used to help moisturize your dog’s dry skin. Use it sparingly and test for sensitivities by doing a small patch test. If your dog develops any redness or itching on the area, do not use.
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Aquaphor, a gentle and non-toxic ointment, can be a safe and effective solution for dry and irritated skin in dogs.
The risk of an allergic reaction is low for our furry friends, making it one of the safest ointments for minor skin issues.
If you notice any worsening of your dog’s skin condition, contact a veterinarian. There could be underlying allergies or health issues that need appropriate treatment.
“Aquaphor Healing Topical: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Pictures, Warnings and Dosing – WebMD.” Aquaphor Healing Topical: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Pictures, Warnings & Dosing – WebMD, www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-86513/aquaphor-healing-topical/details. Accessed 21 May 2023.
“Aquaphor – Wikipedia.” Aquaphor – Wikipedia, 1 Jan. 1925, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aquaphor.
Scarpari, Lydia. “What’s in a Dog Shampoo? – Organix Dog Spa.” Organix Dog Spa, 9 Apr. 2018, www.organixdogspa.com.au/blog/whats-in-a-dog-shampoo.
“Panthenol: Hair, Skin, Uses, Side Effects, Benefits, and More.” Panthenol: Hair, Skin, Uses, Side Effects, Benefits, and More, www.healthline.com/health/panthenol. Accessed 21 May 2023.
“Pantothenic Acid – Vitamin B5.” The Nutrition Source, 11 Aug. 2020, www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/pantothenic-acid-vitamin-b5.
“The Myth of Lanolin Allergy – PubMed.” PubMed, 1 Sept. 1998, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0536.1998.tb05856.x.