For the past 15 years I have gone to thousands of meet and greets, that’s a meeting where I go to a potential client’s home to see if my pet sitting service is a good fit for them and vice versa. This is also a time where I tend to answer lots of new pet owner answers and highly recommend that they take a pet first aid & CPR course (it’s less than 2 hours!).
Just the other day, a very popular question came up so I thought I would bring the answer here. The owners of the dog I was interviewing noticed a cut on the belly of their newly adopted Corgi/Cavalier mix. The woman mentioned she wanted to put first aid cream on it but noticed that he could lick it off. She worried it could be toxic to him. Good thinking on the new owner’s part – to question whether products safe for humans are safe for our pets is an excellent way to think!
The Short Answer is Yes, Neosporin is Safe for Pets
The long answer is; the regular strength first aid ointment is perfectly safe to use on pets with minor cuts, scrapes or abrasions. It is for external use and should never be used inside of ears, in eyes or on large deep wounds. The description of “triple antibiotic” refers to the 3 antibiotic agents found in any brand of triple antibiotic first aid ointment Bacitracin, Neomycin, and Polymyxin B. Neosporin has become a proprietary eponym for first aid cream since it first hit shelves in the 1950’s.
The general guidelines for use can be found on the tube. It shouldn’t be used longer than a few days, especially if the issue doesn’t improve or worsens. First aid ointment is most effective when applied after cleaning with sterile solution such as saline. Your cat and dog can safely ingest the small amount that would be applied to the affected area without any concern. If they eat the tube you will have GI concerns but most importantly you would be making sure the tube itself wasn’t ingested by Fluffy or Sparky – that would be more concerning than the tube contents.
Watch out for Pain Relievers in the Ointment
It is advised to use the ointment over the cream because the cream has more additives. NEVER use any type that contains painkillers as these can be similar to human NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), which can cause your pet to get sick.
Overall, Neosporin or any first aid ointment is beneficial to the superficial wounds your pet may endure but anything bigger, or certainly something looking infected should be inspected by your veterinarian. Definitely do not use any first aid ointment on suture sites UNLESS directed by your veterinarian.
For more information on how to recognize infections or other issues with your pets, take a pet first aid & CPR course, it will help teach you how to find issues with your pets and how to apply the appropriate aid.
I hope this sheds some light, it is a popular query. According to Google’s top 10 questions about dogs in 2016, “Can you put Neosporin on a dog?” ranked #8!
As for a personal reference, while Neosporin is a well know brand, finding a petroleum-free wound healing alternative is always good too. I like to use Microcyn, sovereign silver or colloidal silver. They provide similar antibacterial protection and healing without the use of a petroleum base.