Can you Use Baby Powder on a Dog: Vet’s Direct Advice

There is a lot of dog owners that are worried about the skin on their dog. They might feel that it is too moist and that the best solution would be to add some baby powder. Is this something that you should be doing or is baby powder going to harm your dog because of the particles that will be in the air? Is the skin of a dog is not appropriate for baby powder even it is mild enough to be used a human baby?

Jennifer Summerfield, DVM states that powder was designed for human skin and that it provides zero benefit to a dog’s rash or skin irritation.

Can you use baby powder on a dog? You should not use powder on the skin of dog because it could affect their breathing. The powder could accidentally be inhaled into the lungs of a dog. Also, baby powder is not going to reduce the itchy skin of a dog or heal a skin rash.

Jennifer Summerfield, DVM states that powder was designed for human skin and that it provides zero benefit to a dog’s rash or skin irritation. I wanted to figure out why dog owners would be willing to use baby powder on their dogs instead of using powders that had been prescribed by vets for various skin problems. I realize that some people like to treat their dogs as if they were their kids, but endangering your dog is something that needs to be avoided.

I scoured numerous dog forums and I was shocked by what I had discovered. Most dog owners are using powder because they want their dogs to smell better. I do not think that your dog cares too much about smelling like fresh baby powder while they are strutting around in the nearby dog park.

Besides just smelling better, the second most popular reasoning to powder up their dogs was to reduce the itchiness in the skin of a dog. They feel that the skin of their dog is moist and that their dog is scratching or biting the skin because of the damp sensation. With a baby, you would powder its behind with baby powder to keep the surface dry, so why just a handful to the underside of your dog.

Dogs do not have the same ph level on their skin as humans. Humans, on the scalp have an acidic level of ph at around six. Dogs have a more neutral level of ph near the skin surface since their coat fares better in this environment according to Lynn Buzhardt, DVM.

Reasons why people used baby powder on their dogsPercentage of total responses
baby powder makes their dog smell better and fresh45%
their dog had irritated skin, thought baby powder would help25%
used baby powder on matted fur to try to eliminate untangle fur18%
their dog had an ear infection, added powder to ear canal12%
data derived from numerous online dog forums, responses left by actual dog owners that had used powder on dogs

Is baby powder harmful to dogs?

Baby powder may not irritate a dog’s skin, but this powdering substance can be dangerous to the lungs of a dog.

I realize that owners will state to you that they were careful when applying the baby powder to their dogs. Nevertheless, dogs will typically try to remove a substance that is in their fur. Powder on the skin can become itchy and they may try to determine of their ticks on their skin by smelling their fur. They can then inhale the powder particles.

Personally, I would take the risk. I would never powder a dog as a normal grooming technique. Once the powder is inhaled, it can block lungs tissue. In a report written in the Japanese Journal of Anesthesiology, they state that their dog can develop delayed respiratory distress due to inhalation of baby powder.

I can understand how blockages can enter the tiny thin air sacks called alveoli in a dog’s lung but are there any ingredients in common baby powder that can be harmful to dogs. To find out, I studied various components of baby powder and created a chart showing how certain ingredients in powder could be dangerous to your dog.

For instance, baby powder contains talcum. Studies that state that talcum is dangerous. Some of the data is based on human subjects, but I am assuming that similar reactions may occur in dogs. Some humans developed chronic lung disorders because of talcum powder that is in some baby powders.

Another ingredient in some baby powders is starch powder. I read a report by that stated that there could be a granulomatous reaction due to the particle in starch powder. Granulomatous according to the Mayo Clinic is an area that becomes inflamed. Even though this inflammation is usually benign, the inflammation could occur in the lungs which could cause breathing problems for a dog.

Granulomatous is not extremely dangerous to most dogs, but I did found incidents of inhalation that were shocking, After the death of two infants due to inhalation of baby powder around 1979, experiments were performed on lab mice by the American College of Chest Physicians. The physician could not decide on appropriate therapy. Even a tracheobronchial lavage was not helpful.

Mice and dog are similar regarding the function of the lungs. It is safe to assume that great harm could occur to a dog that is powdered quite often.

Baby powder dangers citedSource of data
aspiration of talcum powder linked to acute or chronic lung diseaseAmerican Academy of Pediatrics
some baby powders contain starch, granulomatous reactionsThe American Journal of Surgery
experiments on mice proves inhaling baby powder can be fatalThe American College of Chest Physicians

Can you put baby powder in a dog’s ear?

You cannot add baby powder in a dog’s ear because the powder will just increase the irritation level of the external ear canal. It is best that you see a vet in case your dog has an ear infection that must be treated with medication, or a treatment prescribed by a qualified veterinarian.

Putting baby powder in a dog’s ear is something that is happening according to my research in dog forums. Twelve percent of the dog owners that were using baby powder on their dogs, were adding powder into the ear of their dog if their dog had been scratching their ears. Instead of consulting a vet, they were assuming that moisture in the ear was causing the problem and that baby powder would absorb the moisture.

The moisture build-up in your dog’s ear might be due to otitis externa. This aliment happens when the skin cells in the external ear canal become inflamed. A discharge can form that some dog owners may believe is simply excess moisture. They then add baby powder into the external ear canal to help their dog.

Michelle Woodward, DVM reported that adding powder into an irritated ear canal of dog can cause concretions that add to the irritations. In other words, the powder will just worsen the ear problem of a dog.

Besides otitis externa, your dog could be scratching their ears due to other reasons. Here is a list of ear problems that could cause irritations for your dog:

Ear Problem for a DogHow it will affect your Dog
Eat InfectionYour dog will scratch its ear, and you might see a redness. Sometimes, there will be foul smell coming from the ears according to Dr Ernest Ward
Ear MitesYou dog might shake its head and scratch the external ear canal, states Dr Malcom Weir
Polyp in the ear canalDr Woodward states that a polyp could cause a strange odor and a polyp could produce a chronic discharge
Tumor in the ear canalA tumor will cause an irritation in the dog’s ear according to Veterinary Practice News.

What is good for a dog’s itchy skin?

The best way to eliminate the itchy skin of your dog is to see a vet to determine the cause of the itchiness. Do not attempt a home remedy or even an over-the-counter method to rid your dog of the itchiness. They are numerous conditions that can cause a skin problem for a dog. A vet will have to determine the type of infliction to treat it effectively.

Here are the common skin problems that a dog can have and how a vet tends to deal with the problems:

  1. Microbes that cause itchiness in the skin of a dog – I noticed online that vets tend to treat the microrobes with antibiotics. This makes sense because microbes could yeast and bacteria at the same time. However, Dr Stephen Waisglass, states that you need to use them sparingly since many dogs are being treated too often with antibiotics. Another treatment method for mild cases of microbes is topical antimicrobial cream. This cream seems to work well on microbial infections of the paws.
  2. An interesting method to treat itchiness in dogs to use the t-shirt therapy. You can get t-shirts for dogs that have allergies on Amazon. Click here to see the current pricing for a Thunder Shirt.
  3. Antihistamines for dogs that have recurrent relapsing dermatitis that is seasonal. I would only purchase brands that are recommended by your vet. Some antihistamines can contain acetaminophen or even decongestants. One beneficial effect that antihistamines provide is that your dog will become drowsy. If you dog has not been sleeping well because they are constantly scratching, they may be able to get a good night’s sleep.
  4. Your dog’s diet may be causing itchiness. This is a rare situation, but it does happen with about 6 percent of the dogs that have skin diseases according to Dr Justin Shmalberg. Here are examples of foods that can cause skin problems in some dogs: milk products, wheat, chicken, and beef. These are the top foods that could cause dog food allergies that affect the skin.

How to do you moisturize a dog’s skin

Before you can try to moisturize the skin of a dog, it is best to understand what a trained vet suggests. Dr Melinda Mayfield-Davis stated the followings solutions for dogs that had dry skin problems:

1.Using a Medicated Shampoo on the dry skin of your dog

Medicated shampoos are not designed to get a dirty dog clean. They will soothe the skin of your dog. Nevertheless, make sure that you consult with your vet to get the shampoo that contains the correct medicine for your dog’s dry skin problem. If your vet suggests just a simple anti-itch medicated shampoo, I recommend that you purchase Arava Medicated Dog Shampoo that is available on Amazon. Click here for current pricing.

2.Brushing your dog may make the skin less dry

If you have a dog that has long hair, and it sheds, the skin will be become itchy from time to time. As the fur falls out, the dryness around the follicles may occur. Also, clumps of loose fur will reduce the ability of the oils in the fur to be evenly distributed according to Dr Marty Smith. Patches of dry skin can start to form.

By brushing your dog, you are going to be able to remove the loose fur from the surface of your dog’s skin. Then the oils will be able to travel throughout the coat of your dog. This oil will moisturize naturally your dog’s dry skin.

Also, if the dry skin is flaking, piece of skin will be lodged within nearby follicles. It is the follicles that are pushing out the oils into the coat and unto the skin of your dog.

Here is a video that shows the best way to brush your dog. It explains how to remove the matted fur in a way that does not cause pain to your dog:

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