Is Baby Powder Safe for Dogs?

By Kevin Myers | 2020 Update

To dog lovers, dogs are family. They are our loyal companions and our goofy court jesters when we need cheering. But that doesn’t mean that everything they do thrills us. Sometimes they lick our pillows or find something stinky to roll in.

Regardless of how many baths they get, our dogs always find a way to stink sooner than they should. Sometimes just several hours after being bathed.

You may not always have the time to bathe your dog, and washing your dog’s skin more than once a month isn’t good for it. Bathing too often may dry it out, and itchy skin leads to scratching and fur that looks dull and brittle. So, what to do?

Some people turn to baby powder in this situation. If baby powder can handle the stench of stinky, poopy babies, it should be sufficient for a pup, too. But before you cover them in it, it’s time to determine whether the baby powder is safe for dogs or not!

What Is It?

Baby powder is made out of any all-natural ingredient that will prevent chafing and absorb moisture. In other words, it may have the following as the main component:

  1. Talcum
  2. Arrowroot
  3. Cornstarch

For a very long time, this product was considered safe enough to be used on babies’ delicate skin. Recently, though, cases of lung and ovarian cancer have surfaced from its use. Here’s how that can happen:

How Talcum Powder Contaminated With Asbestos Causes Cancer

Is Baby Powder Safe for Dogs?

Baby powder may be safe enough for dogs provided it is a non-talcum one. In addition to that, pick a brand of unscented powder. When you sprinkle some on your pooch, make sure to do it in a well-ventilated area. Keep your eye on the dog to see they don’t lick at their powdered fur. Ingesting baby powder — even the safer brands — may not be such a good thing.

If you’d rather look for a much safer option, we understand. Try out these alternatives to baby powder.

How Do I Use It?

Here are tips for relatively safe usage:

  1. Baby powders are only for topical application.
  2. Don’t use much of the product in one go — you might need more for large dogs and those with thick coats.
  3. When putting baby powder on your fur baby, stand just a little away from them to keep the powder from ending up in their eyes or nose.
  4. Don’t let the powder get into their ears, particularly inner ears.
  5. If you can still see white on your dog’s otherwise dark fur, it means you have used more than you needed to.

For a full-body application, start pouring out small amounts of the product. Then rub it on your dog’s coat by running your hands over the fur. You could have to do this several times. That can change with the severity of the smell and the pooch’s size.

The powder should be completely rubbed in. If some of it is still showing, brush it off with a comb. Alternatively, wipe off the excess with a damp rag.

What Are Its Pros and Cons?

Pros

  • As mentioned before, use it as a quick alternative between baths.
  • Makes frequent bathing unnecessary.
  • Economical compared to other dog-specific cleaning products.
  • Before they turn four-weeks-old, it is not safe to bathe a puppy. That’s when baby powder can come in real handy!
  • Not only does it smell nice, but it can also mop up the pungent oils that your dog’s fur produces.
  • Baby powder conditions the fur, leaving it soft and shiny.
  • You can use the baby powder once a week to freshen your dog’s smell.

Cons

  • You’ll need to be careful when applying baby powder.
  • This product can act as an irritant, especially for dogs with allergies or respiratory issues.
  • Dogs may lick off any powder that you don’t dust off or rub in — like they do most things.
  • Using too much of it or too often can dry out your dog’s coat. As a result, you will have an itchy dog on your hands — the very thing you were trying to avoid!

Can I Tackle the Flea Problem with It?

What the Problem Is

Just like keeping your pup smelling like daisies can be a struggle, fleas are another constant source of irritation to dog parents. A flea-ridden dog is an uncomfortable dog. What’s more, fleas can cause dogs to become sick! After all, they could also be carrying parasites, such as heartworm.

And once a flea hitches a ride with your dog, it’s incredibly hard to get rid of them completely. Additionally, fleas can jump from pet to pet. So, if you have other pets, these tiny terrors will spread to them, as well.

Baby powder works on the parasites by smothering them! Moreover, some dogs are allergic to the usual flea-ridding chemicals. Thus, the use of shampoos and other such solutions will be out of the question. In that case, treating with powder may be the best option you have.

How You Can Be Rid of It

Take the same precautions you would when applying baby powder to freshen up the pooch. In addition to those, here’s what you do:

  1. After rubbing the powder in your dog’s fur, let it do its work for at least ten minutes.
  2. Then, brush through the powdered fur with a flea comb to loosen the grip of any stubborn fleas. It will also remove the dead fleas from the coat.
  3. Keep a bowl of water nearby for dunking the comb into it after every run-through. Drowning live fleas is the only way to prevent them from jumping back on your dog.
  4. Stay at it until you can’t spot any living fleas.
  5. Remove remaining flea carcasses — and the powder — by bathing your dog.

How to Prevent a Repeat Performance

What you should know about fleas is that they are tenacious. They will burrow into anything else they can find — if your dog’s fur isn’t available. To be completely rid of these pests, give your pup the baby powder treatment. Then clean their bedding as well as your own.

Anywhere else that your dog likes to lay will require cleaning and washing, such as the carpets or rugs inside your home. Cover them with baby powder and wait for ten minutes. Then, power up the vacuum to remove the dead fleas and powder.

Finally, for really stubborn flea infestations, call in pest control. Let the agent spray the house. In the meanwhile, you should get your doggo to take a flea prevention pill.

FAQs

Can I apply baby powder for plucking a dog’s ears?

Before we answer this, understand why you should be plucking ear hair. In dogs, overgrowth of those strands can block the ear canal. The baby powder acts on the roots of the hair, softening them. Thus, it makes plucking easier — for you — and less painful — for your pooch. Even with the baby powder, we’d advise plucking one strand at a time to make the process less painful.

Would the baby powder help with my dog’s itches?

If flea bites bring on the itching, you can use baby powder to smother them. We’ve mentioned the process above. However, if a skin condition is acause, the powder won’t help. Moreover, you may exacerbate the dryness by sprinkling baby powder on it!

Does baby powder help alleviate a dog’s heat rash?

In the summers, dogs can develop heat rashes just as we do. It can cause your dog to bite their skin.

We’d recommend taking the pup to the vet before you do anything else. If the vet indicates the use of baby powder can help with the skin condition, go ahead. Remember that ingesting this product won’t be good for your dog. Therefore, do two things. First, only apply the baby powder to the affected areas. Secondly, have your pup wear a cone, so they can’t get to the powdered spots.

Normally, reapplication helps clear the rash quicker. If it doesn’t go away in the next 48 hours, get the dog to their vet. Finally, should the rash worsen in that period, this may indicate a larger and more serious problem. So, again, ask an expert for help!

What about Gold Bond Powder? Can I use it on my fur baby?

First off, Gold Bond Medicated Powder does not have the FDA’s go-ahead for use with dogs. But it is effective against heat rash and other canine skin conditions. Many vets even prescribe it for such problems because they agree it is safe enough.

Ask your vet before sprinkling some on your dog. They’d be familiar with your dog’s case and the particular skin ailment. So, they’d know if Gold Bond Powder will work or not. Even then, monitor your dog’s heat rash patches during every application.

How can I tell if I’m living with a flea-ridden dog?

It’s easy to tell if your mutt has fleas. You’ll find them scratching their fur almost all the time. The itchiness increases even more after you’ve bathed them. If things worsen, your doggo will even bite at its skin for relief.

To see if your dog has fleas, give them the white sock test. Slip your hand inside a white sock and slowly rub the sock through your dog’s fur. When you remove it, you’ll see the fleas that have jumped from the fur onto the sock.

You can also do the white sock test yourself. Walk around with your feet, only clad in a pair of white socks. Pay a visit to any areas that your dog frequents inside. Then, remove the socks and check them. You’ll likely find a few fleas clinging to them!

Conclusion

It’s clear to see that baby powder has uses that go far beyond the bathroom. For instance, it can smother fleas and help you pluck out dog ear hair. The delicate skin of puppies younger than four weeks old cannot withstand the use of flea chemicals. You cannot even bathe them. That’s another situation the baby powder will come in handy.

As long as you’re using a talc-free brand, you can use this product on your pet for various purposes besides what its manufacturers recommend. Additionally, make sure that your pet doesn’t inhale or ingest it. It is only good for topical use.

But those aren’t the only life hacks you can use it for. Here are some more:

10 Awesome Baby Powder Life Hacks - How To Redneck

Finally, just like with most home remedies, consult your dog’s vet about using bay powder. Mention the age of your dog and their condition. Then ask if the product will be effective in that case. Also, remember to discuss potential side effects. In the end, if you take these precautions, you’ll find that baby powder is safe for dogs!

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