Can I Put Calamine Lotion on My Dog? Is It Safe?

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Author: Jacob Kay

Have you observed that your dog is continuously itching? As a pet parent, you might be cautious about your furry child, but sometimes it is not possible to understand your dog’s situation. For humans, calamine is a saviour for such skin conditions.

So the question arises Can I put calamine lotion on my dog? It is obvious that not all human medications are safe for these little pups. Let me guide you to find out if Calamine is safe for your dog? So that your pooch can stop scratching their skin.

itching in dogs

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What Would Happen if You Put Calamine Lotion on Your Dog ?

Whenever your dog get any skin irritation, they have this habit to lick, scratch or chew on that area. Calamine or Caladryl is usually applied topically and because of this licking habit these little pups unknowingly ingests this medication.

Calamine lotion contains zinc, which is responsible for many life-threatening conditions in dogs. Now, you may ask how will I know my dog have ingested calamine lotion? So here are the symptoms:

  • Anorexia or lack of appetite
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Abdominal pain
  • Gum discolouration
  • Fever
  • Reddish-coloured urine
  • Depression
  • Dehydration

These symptoms indicate that your dog might be in danger and you should consult a veterinarian.

Why calamine lotion is used?

Calamine lotion or Caladryl is used to treat mild skin infections or itchiness caused by rashes, bug bites, and from allergic plants like poison ivy. It soothes out the skin and prevent the skin irritation. This lotion works by generating a cooling feeling on your skin and making a barrier between your skin and the rash.

In humans, this is also used to treat certain skin allergies. Continuos scratching frustrates the dog and while watching this you also get worried. So you wonder, Can I put calamine lotion on my dog’s rash?

However, it is not recommended to provide your dog any medication without talking to a veterinary doctor first.

Why calamine lotion is used in dogs?
Shutterstock – Irina Kozorog

Components of calamine

Calamine lotion contains two main ingredients: Zinc oxide and Ferric oxide. Zinc oxide helps to protect the skin, and it stops the itching. Whereas, ferric oxide gives the lotion pink colour and it also stops the itching.[1]

There are also some inactive ingredients like water, glycerin, bentonite magma and others which act as a base for this lotion.

Is Calamine safe for dogs?

No, Calamine is not safe for dogs as it contains zinc oxide, which is toxic to dogs. However, this ingredient is not harmful when applied topically, but when these furry friends ingest this accidentally then it creates severe toxicity in them.

Skin reaction after applying Calamine

As per VCA Hospitals, presence of Zinc oxide causes uncomfortable GI problems in these little pups, and it also causes anaemia.

If a dog eats high quantity of Zinc, then it causes zinc toxicosis. This condition occurs even when a small quantity of zinc like the size of a penny is consumed by your furry pal. Zinc can damage dog’s red blood cells and causes anaemia, vomiting and diarrhoea.

If this is not treated at the right time then it can also affect liver, kidney and heart. However, zinc is an essential component in your dog’s diet but in appropriate quantity. It improves the skin, fur, and maintain good thyroid function, and healthy immune system.

There are certain cases when topically applied Calamine causes negative side effects like hypersensitivity reactions or irritation increases after applying in the same area for long period of time. It is advisable to consult a vet immediately.

If not Calamine, then?

Well, there are many other options available in the market to treat these itchy symptoms. Consulting a vet is always a good option as in this condition vets mostly prescribe antibiotics or any steroid medicine.

There are also some natural remedies which are helpful, such as:

  • Lemon has anti-inflammatory properties, and it can decrease dog’s itching. It is easy to apply, and it is not even messy.
  • Basil and mint are effective in providing a cooling effect on their skin to reduce the discomfort.
  • You can also try applying paste of baking soda in the affected area.
itching in dog


What ointment can I put on my dog for itching?

In most cases, you can use hydrocortisone cream, which is usually safe for dogs. It is a steroid medication that treat mild rashes, itchy skin, and bug bites. Other over the counter ointments used are Neosporin (an antibiotic ointment) and Benadryl cream, a topical pain reliever.

Can I put coconut oil on my dog?

Yes, Coconut oil is generally safe for dogs, and you can apply that on your dog’s skin and fur. Generally, virgin coconut oil is the best to use on these pooches. It also treats hotspots, bites, stings and dry skin. In fact, shampoos made with coconut oil can reduce allergens and recover the damaged skin.[2]

Can I put baby oil on my dog?

All oil products like motor oil, baby oil are dangerous to your dog, so it is better to avoid such products.

Is Vaseline OK for dogs rash?

Vaseline or any other petroleum based product is not safe for your dog, so they are avoided. If you observe your dog is itchy, flaky and uncomfortable then it is better to consult a vet before giving him anything.

To Finish Up

To summarize, it is not advisable to provide any medication to your pet without consulting it with a veterinarian. Calamine is an anti-itching cream for humans but for your furry pal it is not safe as one of the main ingredient in this cream is Zinc which is toxic to dogs.

Zinc causes vomiting, diarrhoea, and stomach upset. But, this problem only arises when the animal eats this lotion. The serious effects of Calamine on dogs causes liver and kidney damage. Instead, there are other safe options to treat itching are applying lemon, basil and mint for cooling effect.

Also, baking soda paste is applied for soothing effect.


  1. Santhakumar, S. (2021, February 2). Calamine lotion uses for sunburn, acne, and more.
  2. Reisen, J. (2018). Coconut Oil for Dogs: Is it Really Good for Them? American Kennel Club.
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Jacob Kay
Jacob Kay is a Veterinary Advisor and Editor at WWD. He’s also a dog lover and has two pet dogs of his own. He has extensive knowledge in the field of veterinary medicine and is always happy to share his insights with others.

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