If a dog consumes hydrocortisone cream, what are the potential consequences?

Introduction: Hydrocortisone cream and dogs

Hydrocortisone cream is a common medication used to treat skin inflammation and itching in humans. However, it can be dangerous for dogs if ingested. Dogs are curious creatures and may accidentally consume hydrocortisone cream, especially if it is left within their reach. As a responsible dog owner, it is important to know the potential consequences of your dog ingesting hydrocortisone cream and what actions you should take in this situation.

What is hydrocortisone cream?

Hydrocortisone cream is a type of topical steroid cream that is used to reduce inflammation and itching caused by skin conditions such as eczema, insect bites, and allergic reactions. The cream contains the active ingredient hydrocortisone, which is a synthetic version of a natural hormone produced by the adrenal gland. Hydrocortisone cream is available in different strengths, and the concentration can vary from 0.5% to 2.5%.

How do dogs consume hydrocortisone cream?

Dogs can consume hydrocortisone cream in different ways, such as licking it off their skin after it has been applied, biting into the tube or container, or even licking the cream off their human’s skin. Dogs may be attracted to the cream’s scent, taste, or texture, and they may accidentally consume it if the cream is not stored in a secure location. It is essential to keep hydrocortisone cream out of your dog’s reach and to apply it only in areas that your dog cannot lick.

What happens when a dog ingests hydrocortisone cream?

When a dog ingests hydrocortisone cream, the active ingredient hydrocortisone can be absorbed into their bloodstream. This can lead to a range of symptoms, from mild to severe. Hydrocortisone cream can affect a dog’s adrenal glands, which are responsible for regulating their body’s response to stress. Ingesting hydrocortisone cream can cause an overproduction of cortisol, a hormone produced by the adrenal glands, which can lead to a condition called Cushing’s syndrome.

How toxic is hydrocortisone cream to dogs?

Hydrocortisone cream is toxic to dogs, especially in high concentrations. The severity of the toxicity depends on the amount of cream ingested and the dog’s size and age. Small dogs and puppies are more susceptible to the toxic effects of hydrocortisone cream than larger dogs. Ingesting a small amount of hydrocortisone cream may cause mild symptoms, while consuming a large amount can be life-threatening.

What are the symptoms of hydrocortisone cream poisoning in dogs?

The symptoms of hydrocortisone cream poisoning in dogs can vary depending on the amount ingested and the dog’s overall health. The most common symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst and urination, lethargy, weakness, and loss of appetite. In severe cases, dogs may experience seizures, difficulty breathing, or collapse. If you suspect that your dog has ingested hydrocortisone cream, it is essential to seek veterinary care immediately.

What to do if your dog ingests hydrocortisone cream?

If your dog ingests hydrocortisone cream, it is important to act quickly. First, remove any remaining cream from your dog’s mouth to prevent further ingestion. Then, contact your veterinarian or a pet poison control center immediately. Do not induce vomiting unless instructed to do so by a veterinary professional. Time is of the essence in these situations, and prompt treatment can increase the chances of a positive outcome.

How is hydrocortisone cream poisoning in dogs diagnosed?

Hydrocortisone cream poisoning in dogs is diagnosed through a physical examination and laboratory tests. Your veterinarian will perform a thorough examination to assess your dog’s overall health and look for any signs of toxicity. Blood and urine tests may be necessary to evaluate your dog’s adrenal gland function and electrolyte levels. X-rays or an ultrasound may also be recommended to assess your dog’s internal organs.

What is the treatment for hydrocortisone cream poisoning in dogs?

The treatment for hydrocortisone cream poisoning in dogs depends on the severity of the symptoms and the amount of cream ingested. In mild cases, supportive care such as fluid therapy and monitoring may be sufficient. In more severe cases, hospitalization may be necessary for more intensive treatment, including medication to control vomiting, seizures, or other symptoms. Your veterinarian may also administer medication to counteract the effects of hydrocortisone cream.

Can hydrocortisone cream poisoning in dogs be prevented?

Hydrocortisone cream poisoning in dogs can be prevented by taking simple precautions. Store all medications, including hydrocortisone cream, in a secure location out of your dog’s reach. Only apply hydrocortisone cream to areas that your dog cannot reach or lick. If your dog has a skin condition that requires treatment with hydrocortisone cream, consult with your veterinarian to determine the appropriate dose and frequency of application. Always supervise your dog when they are around potential hazards, such as medications or toxic substances.

Conclusion: Be careful with hydrocortisone cream around dogs

Hydrocortisone cream can be a helpful medication for humans, but it can be dangerous for dogs if ingested. As a responsible dog owner, it is important to take precautions to prevent your dog from accessing hydrocortisone cream and to seek veterinary care immediately if you suspect your dog has ingested it. By following simple guidelines and being vigilant, you can help keep your furry friend safe and healthy.

References: Sources for more information on hydrocortisone cream poisoning in dogs.

  • "Hydrocortisone Cream Poisoning in Dogs." VCA Hospitals,
  • "Topical Medications Poisonous to Pets." ASPCA,
  • "Cushing’s Syndrome in Dogs." Merck Veterinary Manual,
Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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