Yes, you can put baby powder on your dog.
Your dog isn’t too concerned with how it smells, but you most likely prefer it to smell fresh and clean.
Giving your dog a bath too often can dry out its skin.
A light dusting of baby powder worked into your dog’s fur is a safe way to keep your dog smelling fresh and clean between baths.
Many people consider this approach a good alternative to more frequent dog baths – call it a dry shampoo.
As with everything else, there are some additional considerations to keep in mind. In this article, we’ll cover them completely and answer a series of commonly asked questions.
What is baby powder?
Baby powder is a cosmetic product typically used to keep a person’s skin dry and fresh. It may also be used for other purposes, such as in certain household products or to prevent itching from insect bites. Folks with dry skin can also find relief from baby powder.
The most common type of baby powder is composed mainly of corn-based absorbent ingredients, such as cornstarch and talc. Corn starch baby powder is generally considered safer than talc powder.
Baby powders are generally fragrance-free and come in a wide range of colors. We recommend unscented baby powder to reduce the chance of irritation.
You can read a good bit about talcum powder and how it is mined, how safe it is, etc., in this “Facts about Talc” article.
Is baby powder safe for dogs?
Baby powder is intended to be used on, well, babies. As such, it is safe for just about any use you can imagine.
Some people (and dogs) are allergic to the ingredients – this is something you’ll have to look into. But aside from allergies to the baby powder, using it for your dog is entirely safe.
You want to be careful to ensure it isn’t inhaled by your dog (or you), so when applying, use a light dusting, not a heavy cloud, leave it on for a few minutes, and then brush it out. You don’t want your dog licking it so it’s not something you want to just leave in its fur.
To avoid any harm to your pup, it’s recommended that only a small amount of baby powder is used and that it stays out of his/her eyes, nose, and mouth.
To look further into the safety of using baby powder on dogs, I look to professional sources such as the AKC, professional dog groomers, etc. The below links will take you to a couple of such articles:
- Grooming the Great Pyrenees
- Another grooming article mentions baby powder
- From the AKC Gazette in an article about professionally grooming show dogs:
Talk to handlers, breeders, and groomers for ideas regarding helpful grooming routines, products, and equipment. Also, keep an open mind; the most expensive products and equipment are not automatically the most effective. Longtime groomers have a store of general household products that can be used effectively as grooming aids, such as cornstarch, baby powder, and hydrogen peroxide.
Two real concerns are inhalation risk and asbestos contamination.
How should I put baby powder on my dog?
Below is a great, detailed video with good (albeit soft-spoken) detail. You may want to turn the volume up a bit but well worth watching.
The best way to put some on your dog would be to put some on their paws first, then rub some on their body, working it into the coat and onto the skin as much as possible.
Be careful not to accidentally get any inhalable particles into your dog’s nose by standing upwind of them before you actually rub it into them.
It can irritate their eyes and nose, so be careful.
After you have it worked into the dog’s coat, leave it on for maybe five or ten minutes, then brush it out. You want to get as much out of their fur as possible as we don’t want them licking or ingesting it. Using a flea comb is a good idea as the superfine teeth will ensure you get as much out as possible.
Of course, you won’t get it all out, and the little bit that’s left will do the job of helping your dog smell better and perhaps reduce itching or irritation.
We recommend working baby powder into your pet’s fur when it is dry rather than wet. I’ve seen advice to apply it immediately after a bath, which doesn’t make any sense to me. Putting baby powder on a wet dog will clump in the fur.
Besides, the dog shampoo you are using should take care of keeping it smelling fresh and clean.
The baby powder is for keeping your pooch smelling good between baths.
Does baby powder help prevent fleas on my dog’s coat?
This question comes up a lot, but there is no evidence to suggest baby powder is effective for controlling fleas.
However, many DIY or home prevention sites explain that baby powder does smother fleas and causes them to dehydrate and die.
The counter-argument here is that you should not be leaving a layer of baby powder on your dog as it will lick that off. We want to prevent your dog from ingesting baby powder, so this seems to conflict with the advice to use baby powder to treat fleas.
We advise using regular flea treatment rather than relying on baby powder to treat fleas on your dog.
Diatomaceous earth is a good alternative here as it wreaks havoc on fleas but is harmless to your dog.
Can I use Gold Bond powder on my dog’s fur?
Gold Bond powder is as good as any other for your puppy. If your pooch is itching or has hot spots, we recommend giving it a try.
I understand that’s not a scientific or exact answer, but much of this does come down to “giving it a try” to see if it helps. There’s no way to know ahead of time.
Use a little, and ensure your dog is not able to lick it off, as ingesting the powder can be problematic.
Can I use baby powder for dog ear plucking?
The actual question here is, should you be ear-plucking at all? That’s a whole other topic, but it isn’t practiced as much as it used to be.
Ear plucking involves removing the hairs inside your dog’s ear, allowing better airflow and reducing irritation and ear infections.
However, there is evidence that the actual plucking of the hair causes irritation and problems, so many question the practice overall.
Many vets recommend against it, just as many say it’s OK. This becomes the personal preference of the dog owner.
So about half may be plucking. Does baby powder help?
If you are ear plucking, baby powder can help soften the hairs and make them easier and less irritating when pulled.
Care must be given not to leave powder in the ears, though as you don’t want it ending up in the inner ear.
Will baby powder help my dog to stop itching?
Baby powder is inherently soothing and relieves itching caused by dried-out skin.
If your dog is itching due to heat rash, allergies, or flea infestation, the baby powder may help but there’s really no way to know for sure except just to try it out.
Try it and see if it works. If it does, great. If not, maybe a nice bath or perhaps medication would be helpful.
You may want to consider an oatmeal bath for your dog. Oddly enough, I recently came down with a bad case of poison ivy, and after it had passed (which took far too long!), I had some packets of soothing oatmeal bath left over. I eventually used this for my dog, and although she couldn’t tell me outright, I could see it was a pleasant experience for her.
No matter how little money and how few possessions you own, having a dog makes you rich. -Louis Sabin
Can I use baby power if my dog has sensitive skin?
It’s safe to use, but the question is, will it really help? That, as mentioned before, is largely a “try and see” scenario to determine if it’s actually going to help.
But is it safe for dogs with sensitive skin? Yes.
Can I put baby powder on my dog’s paw?
Sure, why not? Baby powder is safe for use on dogs, and that includes the paws.
Humans use baby powder in our shoes to keep our feet from stinking – so perhaps if your dog has stinky feet, this is a good approach.
As mentioned before, though, don’t leave it on there.
Put it on, work it into your dog’s skin and fur, then comb or wipe it off.
You don’t want your dog licking it and ingesting the baby powder.
Can baby powder help with a dog’s hot spots or skin irritation?
We recommend talking to your vet if there is actual skin irritation to work through. Baby powder might help, but your vet will likely have additional treatment approaches and options.
If using baby powder, though, as mentioned before, the only way to know is to try it out. Rub a bit in, let it sit, then brush it out or, if too tender, wipe it with a soft cloth.
If perhaps the irritation is just a flea bite, the baby powder may help.
If your dog is coned and can’t lick the hot spot, then it’s OK to leave it on and see if it helps.
If not coned, however, do not leave a thick layer, or the dog will lick it off and ingest it, which is bad for your dog.
Risks and cautions of using baby powder
Baby powder has, for years, been under fire for inhalation risks. Anything used on a baby will go through intense scrutiny, and concern is “what happens if a baby inhales baby powder.”
This is valid and accurate for your fur baby as well. The caution here is to ensure you apply a light dusting of baby powder, let it sit for a few minutes, then brush it out.
If you believe your pet may have inhaled enough to be a concern, reach out to your vet for guidance.
Another concern around talc-based baby powder has arisen more recently and is still currently in the news. The concern here is asbestos contamination. Talc is a natural resource that is mined from the earth and is inherently pure. There are lawsuits claiming asbestos poisoning, and the FDA has issued warnings as well. As a result, Johnson & Johnson last year pulled talc-based Johnson’s baby powder from the shelves but continues to sell corn-starch based baby powders.
Using baby powder on dogs – conclusion
As with everything else, talk to your vet.
As long as your pup isn’t allergic to cornstarch (which is a common ingredient in baby powder), and only a small amount is used at a time, it is mostly fine to use on your pooch.
Don’t use a lot, you don’t want a cloud that can be inhaled, and brush it out after about 10 minutes or so.
Using baby powder to alleviate symptoms such as itching is usually a case of trying it out to see if it works. It is a sure bet to help the dog smell better between baths.