Can I Give My Dog Calamine Lotion?

Can I Give My Dog Calamine Lotion?Dogs are vulnerable to skin allergies so is using Calamine lotion an appropriate treatment option? This question pops up when the weather gets nice because most pets are spending more time outdoors.

If your pet has a skin irritation you’ll want to treat it since they may make it worse by scratching at it. Calamine lotion has been around forever and works well. It would be nice to be able to use it on dogs, but sadly that’s not the case.

Fortunately we have some ideas that will work well for treating Fido’s skin problems. Let’s also find out exactly what’s in Calamine lotion as a reminder as to why it isn’t safe enough for dogs.

Can I Give My Dog Calamine Lotion? Answer: No

Licking at it may cause an upset stomach.

The use of Calamine lotion for dogs is similar to the problematic application of Neosporin for pets. Because it’s applied topically, it’s likely your dog will end up consuming some which is not good. This lotion is among the most widely used topical applications but it was specifically designed for people only.

There are good alternatives to Calamine lotion. For example, there’s a highly regarded organic all-natural skin treatment made specifically for dogs. It works for many skin problems and is very effective.

Calamine Lotion Ingredients

Zinc oxide is the primary active ingredient in Calamine lotion or Caladryl. This metallic element is common an many household products and even lots of foods. However, too much can have negative effects on dogs. This popular product contains a relatively high level of zinc. It shouldn’t be tasted or swallowed by anyone which is why we are recommending against the use of Calamine lotion.

Potential Side Effects

The most common side effect of a dog consuming some Calamine is an upset stomach. This can be accompanied by vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, gum discoloration and a general sense of being lethargic. But it’s unlikely your dog would ingest an amount which would trigger more serious symptoms which can include liver damage, anemia, kidney damage, heart problems and seizures.

Zinc is highly toxic for pets but, for example, swallowing a penny would be much more of a concern than tasting some Calamine lotion. In any case, if you’ve already witnessed your dog licking at some of this lotion then closely monitor them. If your dog takes a turn for the worse, bring them to a vet as soon as possible.

Some Natural Alternatives

A veterinarian may recommend the use of a steroid or antibiotic for treating a wide variety of canine skin problems. But there are many natural remedies which may be just as effective.

Lemon has anti-inflammatory properties which can cut down on itching. It’s easy to apply to the affected area and doesn’t make a mess. Several teas, like basil and mint varieties, can alleviate skin discomfort by acting as a type of anesthetic. Also try bathing your dog in either oatmeal or baking soda. Mix either of these into their warm bath while paying special attention to the areas most affecting them. If you see results, you can apply either as a paste throughout the day using a mixture with water.

All of these can be more effective and safer than Calamine lotion. There are over-the-counter options which may help your dog as well. Some people use Benadryl but we don’t because we consider it too dangerous for pets. If you use it please be careful with the dosage.

Conclusion on Calamine

Don’t use Calamine lotion for your dog’s allergies, itchiness or any other skins problems. The zinc content, if licked, won’t sit well with them which could cause more trouble. If your dog is experiencing recurring rashes, hives or some other persistent issues then find out why. Try not to treat only symptoms but, rather, address the underlying problem. In the meantime, pick up a quality pet skin treatment product or take your dog to a vet for a closer look.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Jenna January, 2016

My Cocker Spaniels suffer from allergies. They get covered in black scabs and scratch at themselves all of the time, especially in the warmer months and suffered from hair loss. I changed their food to Orijen which is an expensive food that is more balanced and healthy for my babies. My vet also told me to cover their feet and bodies when they go out.

At first I got expensive dog booties with rubber bottoms and velcro. They were great, but after 6 months I needed a replacement. I found a natural rubber cover for their feet called PAWS. You get 12 booties in a package and they cost half as much as just one pair (4 booties) of the first kind I got. They look like balloons with a wide opening.

My vets were amazed at how much my dogs liked them! It’s especially nice because they also keep their feet and a little bit of their fur clean. My dogs are light colored. I cover my dogs with t-shirts when they go out (as recommended by my vet) and I put coats on them in the colder months.

I also have to wash them once a week in warmer months and every other week in the colder months. It’s a shampoo my vet prescribed and told me to wash them at that frequency. All of this has worked wonders for my babies. Their hair grew back and they don’t scratch or have scabs on their bodies any more!


Vickie December, 2014

I have a 9 year old black German Shepard. Recently he’s been constantly biting and scratching on the inside of his thighs. I looked and found raw skin and dark scab-like things around the bottom of the hair shafts. He seems to be losing some hair as well.


John October, 2014

My 7-year-old miniature pincher scratches her rear end on the sofa’s arm and back. Obviously, her butt itches. I use baby wipes once daily to clean her anus much as you do with an infant. That has helped some, but she continues to scratch herself. I’ve covered the area with washable blankets because she leaves feces stain each time she scratches.

I have used a triple antibiotic ointment and a diaper rash ointment around her anus for relief, but neither works. What can I give my dog to relieve the itching and change the behavior? This started about 6 months ago.


Alex March, 2015

Anal glands may need to be expressed if a dog is scooting its rear on furniture or the floor. Small dogs have more issues with this than larger breeds. You can look up how to do this yourself or you can have it done by a groomer. If expressing them externally doesn’t help, you may need to see a vet so they can do it internally. I’ve done it on my Chihuahua and it helped him a lot.


Catherine October, 2014

What can I give my 15 month old dog that has seasonal itching issues? Only in the warmer months, she has been fine all winter. She had the same problem last year.


Ashley October, 2014

My dog has the same issue. She’s about 4 years old and has like 5 breeds in her so allergies are my life. I’ve honestly found that a low gluten and grain free diet with pumpkin is amazing. Also, the shampoo and conditioner called Zymox is great as it helps keep itching down. Another thing is to kept dust and scented soaps away. I’ve gone through so many allergy medicines including Amitriptyline and all it does is knock her out like a zombie. Chlor-tabs are the best bet. Hope this helps!


Carol Openshaw November, 2013

I have a Lab/Pyrenees with very dry skin and itchy all the time. She digs on her tail bad. I have been to the vet and he wants to do tests that will cost a fortune. He gave me a script of some kind of anti-anxiety pill (called Amitriptyline) and I don’t really like giving it to her. It helped some in the beginning but now nothing. He doesn’t want me to feed her anything but Purina One and it still doesn’t seem to be helping.

I’d like to find homemade recipes for her would that help. She weighs 91 pounds. She does run around with her sister in the yard. I have tried to find out if there is anything there that could be eliminated to no avail. I’m on a limited budget and can’t afford all the tests he wants to do.


Debi February, 2014

1 tablespoon a day, on your dog’s food, of extra virgin olive oil. You can give them more if it doesn’t cause loose stool. It works great for itchy skin and a beautiful coat. It will also promote fur growth. Works great!


Mary August, 2014

Vets love to relieve you of your money. I had all those tests done and desensitizing jabs. Nothing worked. Apoquel does though.


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