Can I Use Bactine on my Dog?


When you or a loved one get a cut or are dealing with some skin irritation or pain, you may reach for the Bactine in your medicine cabinet.  If you notice that your dog has a scrape or skin irritation, asking “can I use Bactine on my dog” is a perfectly logical question.  So, can you spray Bactine on a dog?  Is this human antiseptic safe for our canine companions, or does it pose a threat to their health?  Let’s learn more about Bactine and whether it is safe and effective to use on dogs.

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Table of Contents

Can I use Bactine on my Dog?

So, can you put Bactine on dogs and is Bactine safe for dogs?  Yes, when used correctly and in the right situations, Bactine is safe to use on dogs. 

You can apply Bactine to more minor injuries, such as cuts, scratches, and scrapes, to keep them clean and prevent infections.

What is Bactine Used for with Dogs?

Before asking, “can I spray Bactine on my dog,” it is important to understand what Bactine is used for.  This can help you determine whether Bactine is even an appropriate treatment option for your pup given the type of injury they have sustained.

Bactine is an antiseptic that is available over-the-counter.  It is primarily for human use to treat minor injuries and preventing infections.  The two active ingredients in Bactine are benzalkonium chloride (BAC) 0.13% and lidocaine HCL 2.5%. 

BAC is an antiseptic that kills bacteria and helps the top layer of the skin heal.  Lidocaine is also in Bactine’s formula since it is a topical anesthetic that numbs the wound area and help to reduce pain.  

Bactine is not meant to be used to treat large cuts or wounds, rather it should only be used in small areas. 

When used on a dog, these same rules apply; Bactine is not suitable to be used to treat large wounds.  Only use Bactine to treat smaller cuts, scratches, burns, or abrasions on your dog.

Using Bactine on a dog can help you to disinfect a wound or injury that the dog sustained.  Some of the other ways you can use Bactine on dogs include treating insect bites, yeast infections, staph infections, hot spots, rashes, poison ivy, and worn pads on the paws.

You should not reach for Bactine if your dog has a very deep wound or a large cut.  Bactine is not sufficient to treat these types of wounds, and you should bring your dog to the vet for treatment instead.

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Bactine on Dogs: Dosage and Frequency

Unlike other medications that must follow a strict dosing schedule, use of Bactine is a bit more flexible.  Use it as needed depending on your dog’s wounds.  Many experts recommend applying Bactine to the affected area of your dog’s skin either once or twice a day for about 10 to 14 days.  You’ll need to observe the wound area to assess healing and confirm that the Bactine isn’t causing any negative side effects to determine exactly how long you should continue using it.

Remember, Bactine is not for large or deep wounds.  If your dog has such a wound, seek immediate veterinary attention.

Also, keep in mind that Bactine is a topical medication.  It should never be consumed by your dog.

Can You Use Bactine on a Dog’s Hot Spots?

Yes, you can also use Bactine for dogs hot spots. 

If you’re not familiar with hot spots on a dog, they are a skin condition most often found on the hips, legs, and head.  Hot spots are the result of dogs scratching at their skin so frequently and with so much force that they break the skin and leave an open wound.  Allergies and food sensitivities are one common cause of hot spots. Ear infections, excessive licking, too much moisture after swimming, and various other problems may also lead to hot spots.

As you may guess, hot spots can be very uncomfortable for a dog.  They can be both itchy and painful, so helping your dog find relief is important.  You’ll need to work with your veterinarian to find and address the issue that is causing the hot spots, but using Bactine while you work through this process can be helpful.  The Bactine helps the skin heal and prevents the area from becoming infected. 

Additionally, as we shared above, one of the active ingredients in Bactine is lidocaine.  The lidocain will work to make the area on the dog’s skin feel numb, decreasing the pain and irritation your dog is experiencing.

Potential Risks of Using Bactine on Dogs

The answer to “can you use Bactine on a dog” is yes, however there are still a few precautions and risks that you should be aware of.

First, you must ensure that your dog does not consume Bactine.  One of the active ingredients, benzalkonium chloride (BAC) can be harmful if swallowed.

Of course, you won’t intentionally spoon-feed the Bactine to your dog, but that isn’t the only way they could ingest the BAC.  Many dogs will itch or bite at wounds or rashes trying to get relief from the pain or itchiness.  If they lick the Bactine, it will get into their body and may cause negative side effects.  Some possible side effects include:

  • Tissue damage
  • Sores on the tongue/in the mouth
  • Vomiting
  • Decreased appetite
  • More drooling than normal
  • Fever
  • Weakened muscles

The other active ingredient in Bactine, lidocaine, can also lead to negative side effects if it is ingested by a dog.  Remember, lidocaine numbs a wound. If it is swallowed, it can numb a dog’s throat and mouth, which can cause them to have problems swallowing and may make it more likely for them to choke.  

Lidocaine can also be toxic if a dog swallows a large quantity of it (over 10 mg per each pound of body weight).  Your dog would need to consume a lot of lidocaine, far more than what you would put on a wound, in order for it to be toxic.  If you’re worried that your dog somehow managed to ingest enough Bactine to be threatened by lidocaine toxicity, some symptoms you can look out for include:

  • Seizures
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of coordination
  • Fatigue
  • Tremors

As you can see most of the potential negative side effects of using Bactine on your dog arise if your pup ingests the antiseptic.  If you plan to use Bactine, consider putting an Elizabethan collar, also referred to as an E-collar or cone, on your pup.  These collars prevent dogs from being able to lick or bite themselves.  Using an E-collar may also help speed up the overall healing process.

One final thing to consider before using Bactine on your dog is that it can sting.  If you’ve ever used Bactine on an open wound, you know the feeling.  Be prepared for your dog to yelp or get upset when you apply the Bactine to their wound.  Consider having a treat ready or giving them a little extra love right after you put it on their cut to help them feel a bit better.

Treating Minor Canine Injuries at Home

Now that you know that the answer to, “can you put Bactine on a dog is yes, the next step is learning how to take care of your dog when they have a minor injury.  Applying Bactine to a wound is just one step in the process of taking care of your dog, preventing infection, and helping their wound heal as quickly as possible.

Remember, the steps we’re about to share are only for minor wounds; if your dog has an extremely deep or large cut or laceration, don’t try to treat it yourself.  Larger wounds can be very serious and require veterinary treatment.

Before you begin treating your dog’s small cut, consider putting a muzzle on your dog.  This may seem a bit cruel, but it is a good measure to take to protect yourself and your pup.  The pain from a wound and the stress of you trying to treat it can cause a dog a lot of stress.  When your dog is stressed and anxious, he or she may be more likely to try to bite.

Once your dog is ready, follow the steps below to provide treatment for their injury:

  1. Carefully trim any fur around the wound.  This will help make sure you can clearly see where you are working and confirm the severity of the cut.
  2. Use a warm, damp cloth to clean the area of any blood, dirt, or other debris.
  3. Disinfect the cut using a povidone iodine product, such as Betadine. 
  4. Once the wound has dried, spray Bactine over it.
  5. Let the wound dry again, then carefully wrap the area using a bandage.  Depending on the size and location of the wound, you may find that a butterfly bandage works well.  Take care not to put the bandage on too tightly, as it will reduce blood flow, which won’t help the wound to heal quickly.
  6.  Put an Elizabethan collar on your dog.  This will help ensure that your dog doesn’t lick at their wound.  Licking at the wound could lead to your dog ingesting Bactine, which could lead to potentially negative side effects.  Additionally, licking at the wound can also cause it to take longer to heal.

When to Bring Your Dog to the Vet

While there are many injuries that you can take care of at home, it is also important to understand when it is time to bring your dog to the vet and let a professional take care of him.  Veterinarians are highly trained and experienced at dealing with wounds on animals. So, if you ever have any questions about whether or not you can take care of your pup, err on the side of caution and schedule an appointment with your vet.

There are also times when you should completely skip trying to take care of your dog at home and bring them directly to the vet.  These include:

  • Very large or deep wounds
  • Injuries to more sensitive areas on the body
  • Wounds that are red, swollen, filled with pus, or otherwise clearly infected
  • Wounds that won’t stop bleeding
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Bactine Alternatives

If your dog has a wound, and you don’t have any Bactine handy, there are a few alternatives you can also try.  These include:

  • Oregano oil (diluted): Oregano oil works as an antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiparasitic, making it a good addition to any doggy first aid kit.  To use oregano oil on a dog’s wound, mix one drop with almond oil and apply it to the wound.  Note that if your dog suffers from seizures that you should not use oregano oil.
  • Manuka honey: Manuka honey, which comes from the Manuka tree, also works as an antiseptic to clean wounds.  To use Manuka honey on your dog, use it as a topical ointment over the affected area.
  • Colloidal silver: Colloidal silver is non-toxic, making it safe to use with dogs.  It also has no odor or no taste, other properties that make it a good choice for pets.  Colloidal silver consists of a liquid base and tiny particles of silver.  The silver works to kill bacteria and viruses, making it a good topical treatment for wounds, hot spots, and burns.  
  • Disinfectants: Having disinfectants that are safe to use with dogs in your first aid kit is important.  Povidone iodine is is a good option to use with our canine friends.  Before using a disinfectant, you should dilute it to avoid causing damage to the skin tissue.

Bactine on Dog Wounds – Final Word

Can I put Bactine on my dog is a question many pet parents wonder.  As we shared above, if you are trying to treat a minor wound on your dog, Bactine is a generally safe product to use.  Worrying about your dog is part of your job; but hopefully you aren’t still worried about how to provide them the best care possible.


What antiseptic can I use on my dog?

A few dog-safe antiseptics include Bactine, bacitracin, and polymyxin B.  In some cases, your veterinarian may also prescribe other antiseptics designed specifically for veterinary use.

Can I use bacitracin on my dog?

Yes, bacitracin is safe for use on dogs.

Can I use human antiseptic spray on my dog?

Many human antiseptic sprays are not safe for dogs. For example Savlon, Dettol, and Neosporin are not safe for pets. Some human antiseptics, such as Bactine and bacitracin are safe for use with dogs.  If you are unsure whether a specific antiseptic or medication is safe for your dog, check with your vet.