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The essentials

  • Aquaphor is safe to use on dogs — While this petroleum jelly product is designed for humans, it also works well on pets.
  • It’s used as a moisturizer — Aquaphor can help treat your dog’s crusty nose, peeling paw pad, or other superficial skin problem.
  • Don’t let your dog eat Aquaphor — If your pup licks a small amount off of their paws, that’s OK. Just don’t let them ingest large amounts of Aquaphor, it may cause your dog to have diarrhea.
  • We recommend paw balms for dry skin — It’s okay to use Aquaphor on your dog. But we prefer using pet products, like a dog paw balm, instead.

The dos and don’ts of using Aquaphor on your dog

Aquaphor is safe to use on your dog’s skin. Our veterinarian, Dr. Michelle Diener, gave us a few tips on when and how to use Aquaphor on a dog.

  • It can help treat paw pad hyperkeratosis. After your dog’s underlying skin infection is treated, Aquafor can moisturize your dog’s paws. Soak your dog’s feet with Epsom salt baths daily, and then apply a layer of Aquaphor to their paw pads. To really let the Aquaphor soak in after application, put booties on your dog for 30 to 60 minutes.
  • It can protect a dog’s skin against irritation. Dogs that have urinary incontinence may need to wear diapers or a belly band. A barrier cream like Aquaphor can protect a dog’s skin from urine scalding (a type of skin infection) and other secondary skin infections.
  • It can heal dry noses. For dry, cracked doggie noses, apply a layer of Aquaphor twice daily.
  • It can treat pressure sores. Dog parents can rub Aquaphor on their dog’s pressure sores. But it’s important to prevent any additional pressure from being applied to these sensitive areas.

Alternatives to Aquaphor

If you’re nervous about your dog licking off the petroleum jelly, you can use a dog paw balm instead. They’re made with nontoxic and dog-friendly ingredients. Like Aquaphor, paw balms soothe and moisturize dog skin — and are very easy to apply. Our favorite vegan paw balm is Paw Soother from Natural Dog Company.

You can also use an antibiotic ointment on your dog’s skin irritations or minor wounds. Just check with your pet’s veterinarian first. They’ll make sure that the product doesn’t contain toxic chemicals that could harm your pup.

Here’s how to rub Aquaphor on your dog

  1. Rub a small amount of Aquaphor to your dog’s dry skin, nose, or paw pads.
  2. If applying Aquaphor to your dog’s paw pads, put booties on their feet afterward for 30 to 60 minutes to help the Aquaphor soak in. Just don’t leave the booties on longer than an hour to prevent them from making your dog uncomfortable.
  3. Owners can apply a thin coat of Aquaphor up to twice a day.

Aquaphor will help moisturize your dog’s dry skin, but it won’t treat what’s causing their skin problems. Allergies, skin infections, or exposure to the elements — hot pavement in the summer or icy roads in the winter — can all cause dry dog skin. If your pup has frequent dry skin or other symptoms such as itching and irritation, it’s a good idea to take them to a veterinarian.

👉 Some skin conditions may need a stronger product than Aquaphor, like a vet-prescribed topical ointment, to go away. 

Frequently asked questions

Why do dogs lick Aquaphor?

Aquaphor has a new smell and texture that dogs aren’t used to. They naturally explore with their mouths, so it’s not unusual for dogs to lick at substances on their skin.

Is Aquaphor toxic if ingested?

There are three ingredients in Aquaphor that can act as laxatives: petrolatum (i.e. petroleum jelly), glycerin, and panthenol. While they aren’t considered toxic, if a large amount is ingested, your dog will probably have diarrhea. There’s also a small risk of aspiration pneumonia if your pup inhales some of the Aquaphor.

Can I put Aquaphor on my dog’s stitches?

Never apply any cream, ointment, disinfectant, or other substance to an incision unless specifically instructed to do so by your veterinarian.

Can I put Aquaphor on my dog’s hot spots?

No, you don’t want to apply Aquaphor to hot spots. It will trap moisture near the skin and cause the hot spots to worsen. Instead, a vet may prescribe a topical antibiotic spray or cream that can be applied. But, the most effective method for treating hot spots is with oral antibiotics which are prescribed by a veterinarian.

Can I use Aquaphor on my dog’s dry skin?

Yes. You can use Aquaphor to help your dog’s superficial skin issues such as crusty noses, dry and cracked paw pads, and dry elbows.