Dry skin, cuts, bumps, rashes, and scrapes – oh my! Your dog may experience all of these over the course of their busy and active life. Most of these issues are not serious and may never require medical treatment. How do you treat them in a way that is supportive to your dog’s overall health? Is vaseline or another topical treatment your best bet?
Vaseline is a brand of petroleum jelly made by in the US by Unilever. There are also many generic petroleum jelly products on the market. Petroleum jelly is a mix of waxes and mineral oil that can be used to seal in moisture and relieve dry skin. It has been used as part of many people’s skincare regimens for more than 140 years.
Today, many people still keep it on hand to heal dry skin, protect wounds or for cosmetic uses including highlighting cheekbones and keeping lips soft. In addition to just plain petroleum jelly, the vaseline product line has expanded to include lotions and lip balms. While it is a pretty common and widely used product for humans, it should be used with caution on your dog.
Technically no, vaseline is not toxic to your dog. It is also usually not the best choice as your dog can lick it off their skin or paws. If your pup ingests enough they might get an upset stomach, which can lead to vomiting or diarrhea if they ingest enough.
While vaseline might feel soothing, there is no scientific evidence that it works. Furthermore, if your pup has a rash or skin irritation, your best bet is to consult your vet and get a diagnosis and appropriate treatment for whatever is going on. What you don’t want to do is assume your pup has dry skin when they really are having an allergic reaction or dermatitis that requires a prescription to treat. Your vet can do an exam and perform the appropriate tests to make sure you know exactly what is going on with your pup – and the best course of treatment for their issue.
So, while in small quantities vaseline won’t hurt your dog, it’s probably not your best bet in any situation. If you’re using it on your own skin and your pup licks you, don’t worry, it’s not a big deal!
As discussed, vaseline is not your best bet for treating your pup. In addition to the ability to cause some tummy trouble, vaseline use might come with some additional risks.
It is important to remember that vaseline is a petroleum-based product. Like mineral oil, it is a byproduct of oil refining. While this alone might sound a little scary, remember that it goes through a purification process before it ends up on drugstore shelves.
According to dermatologist Dr. Alan Dattner, the founder of HolisticDermatology.com, the components of oil removed during the making of petroleum jelly are, in some cases, cancer-causing. While Vaseline itself, is highly refined and purified and classified as non – carcinogenic, the same is not known about all other brands. Dr. Dattner states: “Vaseline supposedly has all of these compounds removed, but there are probably plenty of imitators and one doesn’t know the extent that they’re removed.” All of this is a long way of saying you should do your research before putting any petroleum-based products on your (or your pet’s) skin. If you cant verify that a product is non-carcinogenic, it is best to skip purchasing it.
If you need a natural moisturizer that is safer for your pup try coconut oil. Remember that some pups love the flavor of coconut oil and will lick it off – even though this won’t hurt your dog, you won’t get the intended effect. Try to avoid letting your pup lick it all off so it can do its magic on your pup’s skin.
The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out MyOllie.com.
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