Can You Use Hydrogen Peroxide on Dogs?Faizan Khan
Hydrogen peroxide has been cited across many pieces of research and journals as a potent disinfectant for human use.
Moreover, it has established itself as a fantastic oxidizing agent with outstanding bleaching properties. But are the implications of hydrogen peroxide limited to human and industrial use?
One may question, are the remarkable properties of hydrogen peroxide far-reaching?
Can the same principles be applied to animal use?
Because if so, it would make hydrogen peroxide even a more critical household tool.
We are here with facts and figures that say hydrogen peroxide is entirely safe for the use of dogs! Moreover, read our article and find out ways and benefits of using hydrogen peroxide over other disinfecting or bleaching agents.
Hydrogen Peroxide and Dogs – Is it Safe; What Does the Research Say?
From time and time, hydrogen peroxide has proved an excellent medicinal agent. It is widely used in hospitals and homes and is an essential part of our first aid kits. But is it safe for the use of animals? More particularly, for the use of dogs?
Unfortunately, the answer is not a simple yes or no. Hydrogen peroxide has a ton of uses, and some practices are safer than others. The primary dog use of hydrogen peroxide we will be focusing on in this article will be treating wounds, ear infections, inducing vomiting, and removing dog tear stains and skunk smell.
When it comes to cleaning dog wounds using hydrogen peroxide, there are mixed opinions. But, according to an Emmy award-winning veterinarian, Dr. Jeff, hydrogen peroxide is completely safe for cleaning dog wounds.
Director of Claims, Dr. Jenna Mahal from Embrace Pet Insurance, also allows hydrogen peroxide for cleaning dog wounds. Provided one follows certain precautions, which we will explain in the subsequent sections.
According to Dr. Justine Lee, hydrogen peroxide is the ONLY agent you can use to induce vomiting in dogs. Inducing vomiting in dogs can be life-saving if your dog accidentally ingests a poisonous or allergic material.
Hydrogen peroxide has reactive oxygen species, which makes it a potent agent in removing stains as well as odor. This property of hydrogen peroxide is mainly seen in removing the nasty skunk smell from your dog or the stubborn stains from its fur.
Now that we know hydrogen peroxide is safe for the use of dogs, let’s move on to how you can use hydrogen peroxide for various procedures!
Cleaning Dog Wounds Using Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is an excellent disinfectant that is widely used to kill all types of germs and bacteria. It has been used to clean wounds in hospitals since the 1800s. And many veterinarians allow the use of hydrogen peroxide for cleaning dog wounds.
The benefits of using hydrogen peroxide over other disinfecting agents like chlorine and bleach are many. However, the best and most highlighted benefit of using hydrogen peroxide is that the substance dissociates into harmless byproducts: water and oxygen.
Moreover, hydrogen peroxide is available inside your body in small concentrations too.
On the other hand, synthetic disinfectants such as bleach that contain chlorine release many toxins after breaking down, which can hinder cellular regeneration and destroy them.
The second notable benefit of using hydrogen peroxide is that it’s a non-specific killer of microbes. This means hydrogen peroxide can kill almost any type of microorganisms regardless of its species.
Moreover, it has shown impressive results in neutralizing many fungi and viruses that other disinfectants cannot kill. This non-specificity of hydrogen peroxide is because of its additional oxygen. Oxygen is an excellent medicinal agent, and by reacting with the microbes, it changes the composition of its cell wall or cell membrane, eliminating its pathogenicity.
How to Use?
Using hydrogen peroxide to clean dog wounds is relatively simple. However, it requires certain precautions while following the procedure.
Before you start to scrub hydrogen peroxide over the wound on your pet, make sure that the wound is rinsed with water. Rinsing with water is crucial as it allows all the extra organic material like dirt and plant residue to be washed away.
These organic materials would otherwise hinder the hydrogen peroxide functioning, making it less effective in killing the microbes.
After making sure you have thoroughly cleaned the wound, take some 3% hydrogen peroxide and dilute it with water. You should aim for a 50-50 dilution, which means mixing the amount of hydrogen peroxide you took with the same amount of water.
After making the mixture, take a syringe and pull some of it in. Then, using the syringe, pour down the hydrogen peroxide mixture over the wound and make sure to clean its depth.
You should immediately start to see bubbling. This is hydrogen peroxide killing off bacteria!
One last thing you should be mindful of is avoiding using hydrogen peroxide for wounds that are too deep. As hydrogen peroxide is an oxidizing agent, it may react with deep connective tissues and damage them. In the cases of deep wounds, immediately contact a veterinarian.
Cleaning Your Dog’s Ears Using Hydrogen Peroxide
Apart from killing microbes from the wounds, hydrogen peroxide is beneficial in cleaning your dog’s ears! More particularly, it resolves all the nasty microbes that reside in your pet’s ears and avoid infections or treat, if one is present.
Hydrogen peroxide has loose oxygen in its molecular structure. When it comes into contact with air, this extra oxygen is liberated and becomes an excellent oxidizing agent. Because of this oxidizing property of hydrogen peroxide, it becomes a great tool in a plethora of procedures. Cleaning ear wax is one of them.
One of the best benefits of using hydrogen peroxide over mechanical ear cleaning is providing a natural clean. The oxygen from hydrogen peroxide reacts with all of the extra ear wax and harmlessly dissolves it. This makes cleaning the ear of your dog so much easier.
On the other hand, mechanical ear cleaning using cotton buds is awkward and unnatural and puts your dog’s eardrums in jeopardy.
If you aren’t a professional, there are high chances that you may accidentally damage the inner ear lining of your pet, risking its hearing abilities.
Another great benefit of using hydrogen peroxide over a mechanical clean is that it washes away all of the microbes inside your dog’s ears. As you may expect, your pet’s ears are a host of millions of different microbes and bacteria. A mechanical clean will inefficiently remove the ear wax and only the associated germs with it.
On the other hand, hydrogen peroxide gives a thorough clean, which removes all of the bacteria!
How to Use?
Some hydrogen peroxide solutions are not compatible with the cleaning of dog ears. Before you start the procedure of cleaning your dog’s ears, make sure to have a veterinarian’s opinion. Then, only use the veterinarian-approved hydrogen peroxide solution!
However, cleaning the ears is relatively straightforward. Before you start cleaning the ears, make sure you do it in a bathroom or a room that’s easy to clean as it may get messy.
Moreover, get the supplies you need to clean your dog’s ears beforehand. They include a cotton ball, towel, and of course, a dog ear-cleaning solution of hydrogen peroxide.
Moreover, make sure your dog is calm before you go on about pouring the liquid in its ears. Finally, do not be afraid to treat it with sweets as compensation.
Then, squeeze the hydrogen peroxide solution to fill your dog’s ear canal and gently massage the base of the ear for 30 seconds.
You will hear bubbling sounds as the solution dislodges debris and buildup. Do not worry, as it is the normal hydrogen peroxide functioning.
Do not be hesitant to let your dog shake its head. Use the towel you assembled and clean yourself and your dog’s face. Once your dog is done shaking its head, use the cotton ball to clean its ears. Make sure not to go deeper than a knuckle’s length.
One thing to keep in mind is that if your dog appears to be in pain or howls during the procedure, stop it and contact your veterinarian. Also, cleaning your dog’s ears too frequently can cause excessive irritation.
You Can Use Hydrogen Peroxide to Induce Vomiting in Your Dog!
There are hundreds of cases of pet poisoning seen in vet clinics every month. Moreover, pets like dogs are allergic to very common foods that are lying around in our homes.
Only hydrogen peroxide can save their lives in such cases as it is the only non-poisonous source to induce vomiting in dogs!
How Does it Work?
Before you induce vomiting in your dog, make sure to always check with your veterinarian beforehand, as there are certain conditions where you don’t want to induce vomiting in your dog. Some of them are mentioned in the subsequent sections.
We aim to use two teaspoons per 25 lbs of dog. You never want to give more than four to five tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide as it becomes way too much and can cause severe clinical signs. Moreover, make sure the hydrogen peroxide you are using is not expired.
The easiest way to ingest hydrogen peroxide in your dog is by the use of a syringe. Take some 3% hydrogen peroxide in the syringe and gently lift your dog’s face.
Make sure the dog is not agitated or reacting. Then, gently lift their lip in the corner of their mouth and slowly and gently pour the syringe into their mouth.
In the start, you may notice a small amount of hydrogen peroxide leaking out, but gradually the dog will start to swallow the hydrogen peroxide.
You may also notice foaming at the dog’s mouth, and that’s perfectly normal hydrogen peroxide functioning. It is essential to know that if you are not comfortable in inducing vomiting yourself, always call the veterinarian.
However, if your dog already shows signs of poisoning like agitation, racing heartbeat, or trembling, it has gotten way too late to induce vomiting. In that case, seek medical help immediately, as inducing vomiting may worsen your dog’s condition.
Hydrogen peroxide is only one of the few substances that can induce vomiting in your pet without poisoning it or causing harm to the inner structures.
That makes hydrogen peroxide a potent agent to use in cases of dog poisoning. Unfortunately, Internet remedies like using salt, mustard are not effective in inducing vomiting and can lead to further poisoning.
It is always wise to keep a bottle of hydrogen peroxide if you own a pet, especially dogs or cats. These animals are allergic and prone to poisoning by some of the most common things at home. They include onions, garlic, chocolates, macadamia nuts, avocado, corn on the cob, etc.
Dogs are inquisitive animals, and if one sees these things lying around, they can eat them. As a result, chocolate poisoning in dogs is very common, and hundreds of cases are seen every month where a dog eats chocolate and faces severe health risks.
If you suspect your dog has eaten any of these mentioned things, immediately grab a bottle of hydrogen peroxide and induce vomiting with the procedure, we have mentioned above!
Using Hydrogen Peroxide to Remove Dog Tear Stains
Many dogs produce tears to lubricate their eyes. Especially in the season of dry airs, tears are extensively produced. However, they can leave reddish-brown marks around the dog’s eyes. And dogs with white or light-colored hair show the most contrast.
Find out how hydrogen peroxide can provide a good bleach in this situation!
The same extra oxygen mentioned in the above procedure has terrific bleaching properties as well. It is particularly effective in removing stains caused by organic material such as grass, coffee, and dog tears!
The process by which hydrogen peroxide removes stains is very similar to how it kills bacteria; by reacting with the organic matter and changing its composition.
Where many bleaching agents aim to remove the stain by mechanical force and scrubbing, hydrogen peroxide can provide an easy way by which you can remove stains without wasting time and energy.
Moreover, the great thing about hydrogen peroxide is that it can also be used directly over the skin for limited periods.
Because the byproducts of hydrogen peroxide are harmless, it can give you a thorough clean by damaging the skin cells. Moreover, its mild bleaching properties save your dog’s eyes from external damage and irritations, unlike many other bleaching agents!
How to Use?
The key to cleaning tear stains from dog eyes lies in being gentle with the procedure and avoiding the direct contact of hydrogen peroxide with the dog eyes. Moreover, be mindful of using the 3% hydrogen peroxide for the procedure. Higher concentrations may lead to eye damage and even blindness in the pet.
Firstly, wash the muzzled hair with dry shampoo and clean it off with a wet washcloth. Make sure your dog is calm during the procedure. And be gentle while applying the shampoo so it may not seep into the dog’s eyes.
The next step is to take a paper towel and soak it in a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution. Hydrogen peroxide has excellent bleaching properties and can bleach away the tear marks from your dog’s face. Scrub the marks with the paper towel for about 2-3 minutes.
Clean the hydrogen peroxide off using water. Ensure to wash all of the hydrogen peroxides off as it may lead to irritation by staying on the skin for too long. Comb and blow-dry the fur afterward.
You may also trim the hair around the dog’s eyes to avoid the seepage of hydrogen peroxide into the dog’s eyes.
Removing Skunk Odor From Your Dog Using Hydrogen Peroxide
Skunks are non-aggressive by nature. However, they can spray a nasty set of chemicals if provoked. If you live in the suburbs, there are high chances of your dog playing in the woods and coming back home laden with a pungent smell. See how hydrogen peroxide can be your savior in this situation as well!
Skunk smells are one of the most stubborn and nasty smells you can come across. Dogs are playful creatures, and little do they know, skunks are not. So when they approach a skunk trying to make friends, the skunk fires them with a set of pungent chemicals that you can smell from a mile away.
But fortunately, hydrogen peroxide can come to your rescue in this situation as well. The smell caused by a skunk spray is because of oily chemicals with pungent salts like ammonia and aldehydes, which cause an intolerable smell. Hydrogen peroxide is the best tool you can use in this situation.
The oily film of smell can be removed by mixing hydrogen peroxide with baking soda and washing it all away. Moreover, the smelly chemicals such as aldehydes react with the oxygen from hydrogen peroxide and oxidize into odorless (even sweet-smelling) carboxylic acids.
By being smart and using hydrogen peroxide, you can save hours of rigorous washing and time!
How to Use?
One important note to keep in mind before discussing the procedure to deodorize your pet is to remain calm and keep the pet away from your home and car. If the skunk oil comes into contact with one of the things, the smell can remain for months, even years!
Moreover, the chances are that your pet got sprayed directly in the face. In that case, wash the eyes and mouth with 0.9% saline solution to remove irritation. If the pet looks agitated and is vomiting, calm them down by wrapping a towel around them or asking someone to do so.
To deodorize the pet, you are required to make a mixture of hydrogen peroxide to remove the oil and smell from its fur effectively.
The mixture contains 1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide, ¼ cup of baking soda, and one teaspoon of liquid dishwashing soap. Don’t make this mixture and store it, as it is prone to explode.
Next, wear gloves and apply this mixture all over the fur of your dog. Avoid getting it into their eyes as it may irritate them. Then, gently massage the mixture for about 5 minutes.
After leaving the mixture on your pet for 20 minutes, start to rinse it with water. Be mindful that leaving this mixture for more than 20 minutes can bleach your dog’s fur, especially if it’s black or dark brown.
Make sure to rinse off the mixture well using a pet shampoo and conditioner. After rinsing, dry your pet well with a towel and dispose of your clothes too. Give your dog a treat as a reward!
What Concentration of Hydrogen Peroxide is Best for Dogs?
Like we have recommended across our various articles, an ideal concentration of hydrogen peroxide is the first-aid grade, 3% hydrogen peroxide concentration.
At this concentration, hydrogen peroxide has efficient working without adverse side effects. Moreover, not only is this concentration safe for use across many procedures, but it is also widely available. And did we mention it is incredibly cheap?
On the other hand, the hydrogen peroxide used in industries is highly concentrated and not compatible with human or animal use. Moreover, a high concentration of hydrogen peroxide is illegal by many authorities and not commonly available. So make sure to check the hydrogen peroxide label when you are buying and purchase it from trusted sources!
When NOT to Use Hydrogen Peroxide on Dogs? – Safety Precautions
While hydrogen peroxide can give excellent results in a short amount of time, there are some instances where the use of hydrogen peroxide should be avoided.
You should not use an expired bottle of hydrogen peroxide for your pet. Before applying hydrogen peroxide, make sure the bottle is fresh, and the hydrogen peroxide is active.
One way you can test this is by pouring down a tablespoon or so of hydrogen peroxide down the kitchen sink. Your kitchen sink should have enough organic matter for hydrogen peroxide to start bubbling immediately. If such bubbling is not seen, use a new bottle of hydrogen peroxide.
Another such case is using hydrogen peroxide over a large gaping wound. If the wound of your dog is too large and deep, pouring hydrogen peroxide can damage the underlying cells of your pet. This not only causes immense pain to your dog but also hinders the healing process. If a large wound is seen, contact your veterinarian immediately.
In addition, you should not use hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting in your dog if:
- It has ingested some caustic or corrosive substance like bleach
- Your dog has an underlying medical condition
- It has already started showing signs of poisoning
Corrosive material like bleach burns the mucosal surface of the digestive tract. In addition, the backward movement through the esophagus can further damage the mucosal lining by inducing vomiting.
In addition, if your dog has a medical condition, they are at the risk of aspiration by induced vomiting. In other words, they can vomit into their lungs, leading to pneumonia and adverse complications.
The Bottom Line
Hydrogen peroxide is one of the most critical chemicals available in your households and industries. This is because the oxidizing properties of hydrogen peroxide are second to none.
It is all because of the magic of the loose oxygen that’s bound with hydrogen peroxide molecules. Not only does it provide a harmless way to oxidize materials, but its implications are far-reaching.
One of such implications is the use of hydrogen peroxide on dogs. Many veterinarians and articles recommend using hydrogen peroxide for dogs!
Some of the procedures involving hydrogen peroxide are cleaning wounds and ears, removing tear stains, and even the stubborn skunk smell!
Therefore if you own a pet, order a set of hydrogen peroxide bottles today!