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How Do I Choose the Best Antibiotic Cream for Dogs?

Dog Care
2 minute read
When choosing an antibiotic cream for dogs, consider the strength of the cream, what you'll be using it for, and whether it is...
Expert reviewed by:  
Written by:
Susana Bradford
Published on:  
September 7, 2022
Updated on:  
September 7, 2022

Your emotional support dog or pup is an important family member, and their health will greatly impact your safety and comfort. When you notice your dog showing symptoms of an infection, you should get them treatment as soon as possible. 

One of the most common medications used to treat infections in dogs is Antibiotic creams. However, there are a variety of antibiotic treatments in the pharmaceutical world, and choosing one that will get rid of your dog’s particular infection can be challenging.

At A Glance:

  • What to Look for in An Antibiotic Cream for Dogs 
    There are many different antibiotic creams available, make sure you choose the right one for your pet.
  • What Conditions Do Antibiotic Creams Treat in Dogs?
    Choosing the right antibiotic cream can depend on many factors including identifying the exact condition you are trying to treat.
  • How to Safely Apply Antibiotic Cream to Dogs
    Got the cream, not sure what to do next? Here are some tips on how to safely apply over-the-counter antibiotic creams on dogs.
  • The Best Antibiotic Cream For Dogs
    Our recommendations for the best antibiotic creams for your dog's specific needs.
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Antibiotic cream for dogs is used to treat both injuries and skin problems, as well as various types of skin and ear infections. When choosing such a cream, it is important to consider the strength of the cream and its suitability for use on dogs. It is also important to choose an antibiotic cream that is suited for the dog’s specific problem. Not all antibiotics will kill every type of bacteria. Consult a veterinarian to be sure you are using a product safe for your dog or if you are treating a problem for several days and the dog is not getting better.

What to Look for in an Antibiotic Cream for Dogs

Many times antibiotic cream for dogs needs to be obtained from a licensed veterinarian, at least in some countries. Other types are available over the counter and may be purchased at pet or drug stores. If you have a dog with a red, inflamed wound that does not respond to treatment, it may be necessary to try a stronger medication or a different combination of ingredients.

If you have a dog with a red, inflamed wound that does not respond to treatment, it may be necessary to try a stronger medication or a different combination of ingredients. A good basic choice for antibiotic cream for dogs is a cream that contains either neomycin or bacitracin. Both of these ingredients are typically safe for dogs and are easily found over the counter in a wide variety of stores. 

For a cream that can kill a broader range of bacteria, the human triple antibiotic compound contains those two antibiotics and adds polymyxin B. Though this formula is for humans, it is safe to use on dogs if the wound is not severe. It is generally a good idea to apply the cream and then supervise the dog for about half an hour to ensure it doesn’t lick the medicine off before the skin can absorb it.

choosing antibiotic cream for dogs

When you need an antibiotic cream for dogs to use inside their ears or for application inside an abscess, look for a potent cream with features that make it suitable for such uses. Panalog® is an example of a topical antibiotic for dogs that can be applied to many kinds of injuries. It can also be used to treat ear infections and relatively severe injuries. In the United States, this cream must be obtained from a veterinarian, but in other countries, this, or a similar product, may be available over the counter. Panalog® also has an antifungal component and an ingredient to help prevent itching.

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What Conditions Do Antibiotic Creams Treat in Dogs? 

When your dog gets sick, you should first take them to a vet to determine the type of infection before giving them antibiotics. Antibiotics do not cure all infections, only bacterial and yeast infections. 

If your dog has a viral infection and you give them antibiotics, the infection might worsen, or the dog’s body might develop a resistance to antibiotics.  

Here are examples of infections and conditions that antibiotics will treat in dogs: 

Ear Infections 

Dogs are prone to ear infections. When you notice your dog showing symptoms of an ear infection, the best thing to do is to take them to a vet, who will then ascertain if the infection is bacterial or caused by yeast. 

If it is, they will prescribe an antibiotic cream you will apply to your dog’s ear. Amoxicillin, Doxycycline, and Cephalexin are the most common antibiotics for dog ear infections. 

Some of the symptoms of an ear infection in dogs include: 

  • Dog continuously scratching his ears or shaking his head 
  • Brown, yellow, or green ear discharge that might be smelly
  • Ear canal swelling 
  • Red, irritated skin inside the ears 

Urinary Tract Infection 

Just like humans, dogs also get urinary tract infections which can be painful and lead to bladder or kidney complications. If you think your dog has a UTI, you should take them to the vet as soon as possible. 

Some of the UTI symptoms to watch out for in your dog are:

  • Crying or whining during urination
  • Blood in urine
  • Leaking urine 
  • licking their genitals 
  • Urinating more frequently than usual, but little pee comes out 
  • Stiff or funny walk 

Most antibiotics used to treat UTIs are orally administered. However, there are some antibiotic creams, like Mupirocin, that you can apply to your dog’s genitals if they have a UTI. 

Eye Infections

If your dog’s adorable puppy eyes become watery or have goop or crust in the corner, it might indicate an eye infection. Eye infections are caused by different things ranging from allergies and injuries to congenital disabilities or foreign matter in the eye. 

The most common antibiotic cream for a dog eye infection is Terramycin, an ointment that contains Polymyxin and Oxytetracycline. 

Skin and Tissue Infections 

Skin and tissue infections are the most common conditions treated by antibiotic cream in dogs. If your dog’s skin is itchy, scaling, bad-smelling, and has hair/fur loss, it might be time to consider buying an antibiotic cream like Cephalosporin. 

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How to Safely Apply Antibiotic Cream to Dogs 

While applying the Antibiotic Cream to your dog, he might get agitated or start licking the cream, which might be toxic to him. How do you make sure you safely apply the antibiotic cream? 

If your dog gets agitated, it might be because the area you are applying the cream to is still stinging or painful. Instead of getting frustrated with your dog, you should have someone gently hold or cuddle them while you apply the medication. 

You should also consider buying a soothing pheromone spray that will ease the irritation on your dog’s skin. 

If your dog keeps licking the antibiotic cream, you can do a couple of things to prevent that from happening. You can distract your dog by giving them treats while applying the cream. 

You can also take the dog for a walk after applying the cream, giving time for the cream to absorb into the skin. 

Another solution is getting your dog an Elizabethan collar, which covers the dog’s head and prevents him from reaching and licking the cream-applied area. 

The Best Antibiotic Creams for Dogs 

If your dog has an infection, you should choose only the best and most effective topical antibiotics for him. Here are some of the best antibiotic creams on the market: 

  • Panalogthis is a strong topical antibiotic that treats different kinds of injuries and ear infections.
  • Neosporin: this antibiotic combines bacitracin, neomycin, and polymyxin B to form a powerful antibiotic cream used to treat wounds and bacterial infections in dogs. 
  •  Mupirocin: a great alternative to Cephalexin, Mucipron is an antibiotic cream that treats secondarily infected wounds.

When choosing the best antibiotic cream for your dog, you should look for the most effective antibiotic that will treat the specific infection that your dog has. If you are unsure what type of infection he has, visit the vet or a clinic to get an expert’s opinion. 

At Pettable, we care about you and your animal’s health. For more tips on how to take care of your emotional support animal, visit our resource center or contact us today. 

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Meet the author:
Susana Bradford

Susana is an avid animal lover and has been around animals her entire life, and has volunteered at several different animal shelters in Southern California. She has a loving family at home that consists of her husband, son, two dogs, and one cat. She enjoys trying new Italian recipes, playing piano, making pottery, and outdoor hiking with her family and dogs in her spare time.