Using human medicine on canines is a big don't in most cases. But not so with triple antibiotic cream. It not only is one of the exceptions to the rule, it is also a highly effective exception, often providing just what the doctor, er, veterinarian would order in minor first-aid cases.
What It Contains
According to the Drug Information Online website, triple antiobiotic cream contains three active ingredients: bacitracin, neomycin and polymyxin B. Each is a specialized antibiotic that kills bacteria on skin. Working in conjunction with each other, this trio effectively takes out the most common bacteria found not only on human skin but also on animals and on sticks, rocks or other sharp objects that cause irritation, abrasion or cuts when coming in contact with skin.
Before You Apply
Muzzling or restraining your dog prior to application of triple antibiotic cream is advised. Your dog does not understand that this is a healing product. Even if, during application of the ointment, the dog does not display aggression that wounded canines often do, the dog's natural tendency to lick its wounds will remove the triple antibiotic cream prior to it being fully dissolved. The ointment must get into the wound itself to be effective.
Applying The Ointment
If possible, clip hair around the wound area. This keeps potential infectious material out of the wound and prevents the ointment from being absorbed by the hair instead of the skin.
As with humans, triple antibiotic ointment should be applied up to three times daily for no longer than one week. If the injury is not either completely healed or nearly healed in that time, further professional veterinary treatment is required. It should not be used to treat large areas or any injuries beyond minor first aid.
Humans are cautioned to not ingest triple antibiotic cream. Women who are lactating or pregnant are also advised to consult their physician before using triple antibiotic cream; a full study of its effect on breast milk and the fetus have not been conducted. The same advice applies to its use on nursing canines or pregnant canines, because the ointment's potential side effects if ingested are unknown.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Amy M. Armstrong is a former community news journalist with more than 15 years of experience writing features and covering school districts. She has received more than 40 awards for excellence in journalism and photography. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Washington State University. Armstrong grew up on a dairy farm in western Washington and wrote agricultural news while in college.