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My Dog Licked Hydrocortisone Cream Should I Be Worried?

Dog breeds like Golden Retrievers and Labradors are known for eating everything they can find.

Because of this, you should put away anything that could be harmful to them, close the bathroom to avoid messes, and make the kitchen a dog-free zone. 

Mistakes happen, and forgetting to close one door one time can lead to a terrible time for you. It can be even more alarming if your dog finds the way to the medicine cabinet.

You can use hydrocortisone creams to treat some dog skin problems like allergies or redness. If you've been applying the cream on your dog, then chances are they've tried to lick and swallow it. 

Today we'll tell you what to do if your dog ever eats a medicine like hydrocortisone cream. Keep reading to learn what hydrocortisone cream is and how it is used in a dog's treatment.

What Is Hydrocortisone Cream?

Photo of Hydrocortisone Cream

Hydrocortisone cream is a variety of steroid cream that doctors use to treat swelling, redness, itching, and other kinds of discomfort on the skin. The medicine forms part of the medication class known as corticosteroids. 

The cream is easy to use and must be prescribed by a doctor before buying it. Using hydrocortisone cream will make your symptoms go away in a couple of weeks. If it persists, you should contact your doctor. 

Hydrocortisone creams are only meant for your skin, and it is imperative not to let them get to your mouth or eyes. If by accident you or someone else ingests the cream, then you should consult with a doctor. 

Here are some of the possible side effects if you use hydrocortisone cream: 

  • Irritation of the skin
  • Acne
  • Hair growth 
  • Changes in the skin color
  • Red bumps or rashes on the mouth
  • White or red spots in the skin

Other side effects might be more serious, like a severe rash or skin infection. 

Remember to keep this product away from kids and pets, as it can be dangerous if they ingest it in large amounts. 

Hydrocortisone in Dog Products: What Is It Used For?

Photo of Hydrocortisone Cream For Dogs

Like humans, hydrocortisone can be used to treat skin conditions like rashes, redness, or swelling. However, keep in mind that the dog's hydrocortisone products are not yet approved by the FDA.

Hydrocortisone products are still used, but caution is recommended to owners that decide to apply them to their dogs. Remember that hydrocortisone products will not work on all dogs and breeds. Furthermore, they will only help with the symptoms and won't treat the source. 

Always consult your veterinarian before applying hydrocortisone products to your dogs, as allergic reactions can cause a bigger problem. Also, make sure that you use the cream in an area of your dog's body that won't be easy for them to reach as they could try to lick it off. 

You have to gently apply the cream over the skin, not the coat of your dog. Use a small quantity of the cream, enough to cover it. If you need help finding the skin area to apply the cream, let your dog tell you. Look for where your dog's been scratching, licking, or biting, and you'll see where to apply it. 

Note: Do never apply the cream over an open wound or sore, because it could infect the skin and create a bigger problem. 

Is Hydrocortisone Cream Toxic to Dogs?

Photo of Dog Paw Balm

Hydrocortisone cream's effects on dogs are still being tested. The FDA has not approved them yet, but many owners use them to treat their dogs' rashes and swelling.

It is not a bad or dangerous idea, but one must be careful when using hydrocortisone products on a dog. 

If your dog ingests hydrocortisone cream, you will have to be careful. A large amount of cream can cause stomach problems and various side effects, but it is not as severe as it might sound.

Keep an eye on your dog's health right after the ingestion, and keep monitoring his bowel movements.

It is common for them to present diarrhea after eating the cream, but that shouldn't last for an extended period. If it does, then you should consult a vet

What Do You Do Once Your Dog Has Licked Hydrocortisone Cream?

Photo of Dog Licked Cream

The first thing to do if your dog ingests hydrocortisone is to make sure that he has only eaten the cream and not the entire tube.

The cream will cause some problems like diarrhea or vomiting, but it won't be as bad as if your dog has ingested the tube. 

If he ate the tube, then your dog might face some intestinal tract infections and blockages. It is an entirely different problem and a lot more severe than if he had just eaten the hydrocortisone cream. 

If the dog has only eaten the cream but not the tube, proceed to give him enough water to keep him hydrated. Keep the water near him, and monitor how he feels throughout the day. Your dog should be feeling a lot better after a couple of days. 

During those days, you'll notice increased thirst and urination; it is normal. You should only worry if you see no improvement after a couple of days. 

When Should You Contact Your Vet?

As mentioned before, if your dog has ingested hydrocortisone cream, wait a couple of days before worrying.

If your dog seems to improve after a couple of days, then there won't be significant issues. However, if you notice your dog with less appetite and energy during those days, you should consult a vet. 

Changes in a dog's behavior and appetite levels are significant indications that they might be getting seriously sick. Take your dog and the cream to the veterinarian to help them understand the reason for your dog's health problem. 

If your dog has ingested the cream and parts of the tube or the entirety of it, you should go straight to the veterinarian. The tube can cause a blockage in the intestinal tract and more significant issues like infections. These issues would require an operation that can be risky and expensive.

Note: Do not try to induce vomiting if you catch your dog eating the cream, as this can cause a lot of distress. It is also not necessary in most cases. 

Skin Conditions in Dogs

Photo of Hydrocortisone For Dog Rashes

The cream can treat different skin conditions like allergies, swelling, redness, and other skin symptoms.

Hydrocortisone creams can be beneficial for dog breeds that are susceptible to skin allergies.

Dog Breeds Prone to Skin Conditions

The dog breeds prone to skin conditions are the following: 

  • Golden Retrievers
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • West Highland White Terriers
  • Wirehaired Fox Terriers
  • Bulldogs
  • Boxers
  • Dalmatians

Hydrocortisone creams can help relieve some of the pain and discomfort produced by skin allergies in these breeds. There's even evidence of fur growth after applying the product for a certain amount of time over the area a dog has ripped the fur off. 

Remember that hydrocortisone creams won't always work on dogs as it is a product designed and approved for human use. It can help, but it is still better to check with a professional before trying it on your dog. 

Most treatments will include the use of special shampoos for your dog and dog creams designed to help with allergies or sores. A veterinarian can also recommend changing your dog's diet for a special one to reduce the allergy symptoms. 

How to Notice if your Dog Suffers from Skin Allergies?

Photo of Dog Skin Condition

Pay attention to your dog's behavior if you notice them scratching, licking, or biting a particular area consistently. If you know your dog doesn't have fleas, it is probably a skin allergy or another skin-related problem.  

Usually, you'll find your dog in discomfort if they have skin allergies. You'll notice them down and tucking their tail. In more severe cases, you'll be able to see a behavioral change.

Treating allergies is essential for keeping your dog healthy. It can help them enjoy a more active and happy life. 


The best way to help your dogs is to prevent them from ingesting substances that can be harmful to them.

Keep anything that could be potentially dangerous for them away. Remember to close all doors inside the apartment, especially the bathroom, kitchen, and offices. 

If your dog does ingest hydrocortisone cream, remember to stay calm and examine the tube first. The hydrocortisone is not highly dangerous, but the tube can cause significant complications. If your dog has eaten the tube, then you should consult with your veterinarian as soon as possible. 

If it's just the cream, keep your dog correctly hydrated and monitor his improvement for a couple of days. If there's no improvement, then take him to the vet. 

Hydrocortisone creams are not a big problem by themselves. The cream can be helpful to treat mild skin symptoms, but a veterinarian should always recommend it. Dogs can react differently depending on the breed, so make sure your dog can handle the medicine before applying it. 

Overall, keeping creams and medicines away and in places of difficult access for your dog will help you prevent any of these problems.