Cortisone Cream for Dogs: What You Need to Know The Risks and Benefits of Using Cortisone Cream

Cortisone Cream for Dogs: What You Need to Know

Cortisone cream can be tempting for treating itchy skin in dogs, but proceed with caution. While it offers quick relief for inflammation, there are potential downsides. This article discusses the risks and benefits of using it on your dog, empowering you to make informed decisions for their well-being.

Cortisone cream has become a common go-to solution for addressing various skin issues, offering relief from itching, inflammation, and dermatological discomfort. However, its application requires careful consideration of both the potential benefits and risks involved. 


In this comprehensive guide, we explore the intricacies of using cortisone cream for dogs, shedding light on what every pet owner needs to know. 

What is Cortisone Cream?

Cortisone, specifically in the form of hydrocortisone cream, plays a pivotal role in managing various skin conditions in dogs. It is a topical treatment that contains a low dose of steroids and is known for its efficacy in addressing skin inflammation and swelling. 


According to A-Z Animals, over-the-counter hydrocortisone creams typically contain 0.1% to 1% hydrocortisone per gram. Additionally, some products may even possess antimicrobial properties to combat bacteria.


While topical hydrocortisone is generally safe for dogs, it is essential to follow specific safety guidelines. Most over-the-counter varieties are considered safe, provided they are applied in small amounts to areas where the dog cannot lick.


Notably, there are specialized hydrocortisone creams and sprays formulated explicitly for dogs. Products like Pet MD Hydrocortisone Spray, Veterinary Formula Hot Spot & Itch Relief Spray, and Zymox Veterinary Strength Hydrocortisone Cream are favored options. 

Benefits of Cortisone Cream for Dogs

In addressing the question, "Can I put cortisone cream on my dog?" it's essential to recognize that cortisone cream does provide potential benefits in specific situations. 


This topical solution contains potent anti-inflammatory agents that swiftly alleviate inflammation, redness, and itching associated with various conditions. This quick relief can significantly benefit dogs experiencing excessive scratching or discomfort.


Cortisone cream can be a valuable tool in managing specific skin conditions like eczema, dermatitis, and autoimmune skin diseases. However, it's crucial to understand that the cream is not a standalone solution. Rather, it should be a part of a comprehensive treatment plan determined by veterinary professionals.


Over-the-counter (OTC) hydrocortisone is readily available and cost-effective. However, its application should be limited to once or twice a day for a short duration. It is crucial to consider hydrocortisone cream as a temporary measure until your veterinarian identifies the root cause of your pet's itching.

Risks of Cortisone Cream for Dogs

The risks associated with cortisone cream are substantial. One primary risk lies in improper use, emphasizing the dangers of administering it without professional consultation. 


Potential side effects, as highlighted by PetMD, include skin irritation manifested as redness, blistering, peeling, swelling, itching, or hives. Prolonged use of topical steroids can further lead to skin thinning, exacerbating the risks.


Moreover, the product has the potential to mask underlying issues, preventing the accurate diagnosis and treatment of serious conditions. Inappropriate application on specific conditions, such as open wounds or bacterial infections, may exacerbate problems rather than offer solutions.


Human side effects also come into play, with different dosages used in humans carrying distinct risks. Pregnant women, individuals allergic to hydrocortisone, or those sensitive to topical medications should avoid contact with the product.


Monitoring is crucial. Additionally, immediate veterinary attention is warranted if severe side effects, lack of improvement, or suspicion of overdose occurs. 

How to Best Treat Hotspots on Dogs?

As per Allan Simon, DVM and practicing veterinarian from Long Island, the typical treatment for hot spots or acute moist dermatitis involves trimming and cleansing the affected area. This should be followed by the application of an antibacterial cream. If an infection is present, oral antibiotics may be prescribed, and in some cases, a short course of tapered steroids might be recommended. 


To prevent self-mutilation, the use of an Elizabethan collar is advised. In instances of recurring hot spots, a thorough investigation is essential to identify any underlying causes.


In conclusion, cortisone cream can provide quick relief from itching and inflammation in dogs. However, it's crucial to remember that it's not a magic cure and comes with potential risks.


Never use cortisone cream on your dog without first consulting your veterinarian. They can assess your dog's individual needs, determine the underlying cause of the itching, and recommend the safest and most effective treatment plan. 


Remember, responsible pet ownership means prioritizing your dog's well-being and seeking professional guidance for their healthcare needs.

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