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The essentials

  • Vaseline is also known as petroleum jelly — It’s inexpensive and easily found in drugstores.
  • Vaseline can be used topically on dogs’ noses and paws — But it isn’t always the best option.
  • Dogs might develop an upset stomach or have diarrhea if they ingest too much — If your dog has ingested a jar of Vaseline, call your vet ASAP.

Is Vaseline safe for my dog? 

Vaseline is not toxic to dogs, so yes, you can use Vaseline on or around your pets. It’s generally considered safe as a topical treatment, but it can lead to stomach upset if a dog over-ingests it after licking it off. Too much Vaseline can result in other gastrointestinal problems, including vomiting and diarrhea. 

Most commonly, Vaseline is used to protect dogs’ paws or cracked noses in cold weather and might even be helpful when trying to heal superficial wounds. However, Vaseline forms a moisture-sealing barrier that can actually dry out the skin and trap unwanted toxins, dirt, and bacteria. 

If you’re in a pinch and don’t have a specialized solution on hand, it’s fine to use Vaseline on your pup’s paws or nose. But there are better alternatives like balms specifically formulated for dogs. If you’re concerned about your dog’s skin, it’s also a good idea to see your vet to rule out a potential medical condition.

Tips for using Vaseline on your dog’s cracked and dry paws

It’s best to use Vaseline with caution; petroleum jelly can be messy, and your pup might be tempted to lick it off. Use the following tips when applying Vaseline to your dog’s paws:

Only use a thin layer of Vaseline — A little Vaseline goes a long way. When applying a coat of Vaseline to your dog’s paw pads, avoid globbing it on since your pup might track it all over your house.

Consider applying Vaseline outside — Don’t want your pup tracking Vaseline all over your floors? Try applying it outside. If you use it before heading out in nasty weather, stay just inside the door and head out for your walk immediately after.

Wipe off the Vaseline when you come in from a walk — After your pup comes in from the elements, wipe any leftover Vaseline off their paws. This is especially helpful after a winter walk to remove any ice, snow, salt, or de-icing chemicals.

Use booties — Another way to stave off the mess is to have your dog wear booties after applying Vaseline. Once the petroleum jelly dries, remove the booties and wipe any excess off their paws. Skip the Vaseline and use booties to shield your dog’s feet or protect a cut or blister as it heals.

Dry dog paw pads

Paw pads after a thin layer of vaseline

Paw-protecting alternatives to Vaseline

Vaseline might be OK in a pinch, but there are better products out there, like a dog paw balm or nose balm, which can help soothe your pup’s dry, cracked skin. Dogs that are big lickers should also avoid Vaseline since ingesting too much of it can cause tummy issues.

A note on Vaseline and itchy skin

Vaseline may seem like a good option to moisturize your dog’s dry skin, protect patches of itchy skin, or cover up dry patches on your dog’s ears. However, Vaseline is not the best choice in any of these circumstances. 

Rather than using Vaseline, ask your vet about a medicated shampoo, which will help treat the cause of your pup’s skin issue and provide them with relief.

👉 If your dog’s itchy skin is the result of an underlying allergy or infection, prescription medications may be required in addition to medicated shampoo.  

Many pet parents reach for coconut oil or olive oil to soothe their dog’s skin, but most vets advise against using either as a moisturizer. Instead, an omega-3 fatty acid supplement like Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Pet is a great mess-free and effective treatment for dry skin.

“Dry, itchy skin (pruritus) can be very frustrating for both dogs and their owners and is incredibly common. If itching is severe or accompanied by other signs (such as redness, pustules, sores, scabs, odor, or hair loss) it’s important to see a vet to determine the underlying cause and best treatment options. 

Common causes include allergies (to something in the diet, environment, or fleas), external parasites, skin infections, and even systemic diseases such as hypothyroidism. There are also other medical conditions that can cause dryness and cracking of the nose and paw pads. Vaseline will not help these conditions and may make them worse.” – Dr. Liza Cahn

What to do if your pup eats Vaseline

If your pup eats a little bit of Vaseline, don’t panic. But call your veterinarian if your dog has managed to eat a lot. You’ll want to watch out for signs of an upset stomach or vomiting.

You should also always contact your veterinarian if your dog ingests any substance they aren’t supposed to eat.

Frequently asked questions 

Is petroleum jelly safe for dog paws?

Yes, but it isn’t the best option. We recommend a paw balm such as Paw Soother or Musher’s Secret. But if you need something in a pinch, petroleum jelly works just fine.

Is it safe to put Vaseline on my dog’s nose?

Yes, you can use Vaseline on your dog’s dry or cracked nose, but there are more effective products that your pup is less likely to lick off. Using a balm designed for your dog’s nose is better for the long term. 

What happens if a dog licks Vaseline off their paws?

Vaseline can negatively impact your dog’s digestive system. But if your dog licks a little Vaseline off their paws, it’s not a real cause for concern. A lot of Vaseline can have a laxative effect and cause gastrointestinal issues like an upset stomach, vomiting, or diarrhea.

What should you do if your pup eats Vaseline?

If your pup has eaten only a small quantity of Vaseline, you’ll want to watch out for signs of gastrointestinal upset, like vomiting or diarrhea. If your pup has eaten a great deal of Vaseline, call your vet or a professional pet poison hotline for further instructions.

Is Vaseline good for dog wounds?

Never put Vaseline on open or infected wounds. Instead, have a pet first-aid kit handy and clean and dress your dog’s wound until you can get to your vet. In severe cases, stitches or antibiotics may need to be administered by a veterinarian.