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The "Cute" Little Habit That Can Sicken Your Pet - Or Worse

Story at-a-glance

  • Many dogs and even some cats have a thing about licking their humans right after they apply lotion or a medicated cream to their skin
  • This presumably harmless habit can actually cause big problems depending on what you’ve rubbed on, that your pet has licked off
  • There are many types of lotions, ointments, creams, and topical medications that can make your pet sick, or even desperately ill, if ingested, including several you might not suspect
  • To be on the safe side, it’s best to consistently discourage this type of licking so that no matter the situation, your pet won’t be tempted
  • If you suspect your pet has ingested a potentially harmful topical product, call your veterinarian or an emergency animal hospital right away

By Dr. Becker

For some reason, many dogs and even cats enjoy licking lotions and other types of topical products off their human's skin. In fact, one of my dogs tends to wait by the bathroom door, hoping he'll get a chance to sample whatever I've applied to my skin after my shower. (That's one of the reasons I use all organic body products.) And dogs seem especially intent on having a lick if the product has a yummy smell, for example, vanilla scented body lotion or coconut oil-based products.

Unfortunately, this seemingly harmless little habit so many pets indulge in can be cause for concern depending on what you've put on your skin. The following are products you definitely don't want your dog, cat, bird, or other animal companion licking off you and ingesting.

Over-the-Counter Topical Products Dangerous to Pets

Prescription Topical Products Dangerous to Pets

5 Tips for Keeping Your Pet Safe from Topical Products

  1. Prevent your pet from licking after you've applied any product to your skin. Even if you use primarily organic, non-toxic products, it's best to consistently discourage licking to keep your pet safe in all situations.
  2. Allow all topical products to dry or soak in completely – or cover the area of application --- before having contact with your pet.
  3. Never apply a topical product meant for humans to your pet without first talking with your veterinarian.
  4. After applying any topical drug, over-the-counter or prescription, wash your hands thoroughly before handling your pet. Store all such products well away from your pet.
  5. Contact your vet or an emergency veterinary clinic immediately if you suspect your pet may have ingested or come in contact with a potentially harmful topical product.

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