Can You Put Lotion on Dogs?

Written by Marisa Wilson
Updated: October 7, 2022
© ElenaYakimova/
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When you have dry skin, it can be so annoying. You feel uncomfortable, and the itching can drive you mad and may worry your dog feels the exact way you do. If your dog has been scratching or you see skin flakes, they can use a hydration boost. 

The next thing you know, you’re on Google to see if you can share your human lotion with your pup. Let’s jump to the answer; no, you can’t. There are a few reasons your dog shouldn’t use human lotion, and we’ll review them. 

In this post, you’ll find the best ways to help your dog’s skin and even fur look and feel their best. You might find an excellent idea to add to your dog’s routine. It’s amazing what a little extra step can do for your pup! Keep reading to get your dog’s skin under control!

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Reasons Not to Use Human Lotion on Dogs

Pets have a propensity to lick off anything applied to their coats, and some lotions for human skin contain substances that shouldn’t be ingested. Dogs who consume moisturizers may have drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea. Aside from internally ingesting trace amounts of lotion, it can worsen your dog’s skin condition. Human lotion tends to have strong scents and chemicals that can irritate a dog’s skin. 

Sun exposure can result in skin cancer and sunburn in our pets. The tips of the ears and the nose are particularly susceptible to sunburn. Short hair dogs of certain breeds are even more vulnerable. We might be tempted to spray our pets with sunscreen, but be careful! Human sunscreen frequently contains zinc oxide, which, if consumed by pets, might harm their red blood cells and upset their stomachs.

Additionally, modest concentrations of octisalate, a salicylate that is particularly toxic to cats, may be present in human sunscreens. There are several pet-friendly options available like this one. External parasites like fleas, mange mites, or allergies may indicate an underlying medical issue like dry skin. It’s vital to consult your vet before applying body lotion to your pet because particular skin conditions call for specific treatments. 

Short-haired dog breeds, such as dalmatians, are particularly vulnerable to sunburn.

© Nedikova

Bug Repellent Lotion

Never give your dog human insect repellent. DEET and picaridin are the two most frequently found ingredients in insect repellents for people. Both of which can result in symptoms like nausea and seizures. This is why you shouldn’t allow your dog to lick your skin after using bug spray. Online homemade mosquito repellent often contains particularly hazardous ingredients to dogs. It’s best to stick with items designed for dogs. Many anti-flea and anti-tick medications also protect from mosquitoes.

How to Help Dog’s Skin 

If your vet has already cleared your dog for any underlying medical issues, you may need some ideas on treating your dog’s skin concerns. There may be several issues and ways of dealing with them. Itchy, flaky, and dry skin often improves from the inside out, along with the right products used for them. You’ll better understand this as we break this down. 

Itchy Skin 

You are not alone if your dog is itching so intensely that you feel crazy. The best thing you can do for this is to ask your vet for options for treating the symptoms while you work on improving them. 

You should start with a shampoo for itchy skin and follow with a dog lotion or cream. This will help your dog’s skin get better over time. Some supplements can be given as treats to help improve the dryness of the dog’s skin. Other dog owners like using a humidifier if they live in dry climates.

Flaky Skin

If you think it’s snowing, but it’s just your dog itching, you’ve come to the right section. Regular brushing with the right brush or comb will help maintain your pup’s skin and coat shiny and healthy, which could help avoid dandruff. 

The brush and comb will aid in removing the flakes if your dog does have dandruff. You should use a shampoo made for doggy dandruff while applying a lotion that targets the same. Limiting the number of baths can also help improve the flakes. You can try a no-rinse shampoo if they start developing an odor. Make sure your pup is eating a balanced diet. You can add fish oil drops into their food to improve the skin from the inside. 

dog with flaky skin
If your dog has flaky skin, comb his fur and apply an anti-dandruff shampoo.

©natnaree sangkaew/

Dry Skin

If your dog has dry skin that doesn’t seem to cause much discomfort, you can try bathing them less. Taking your dog outside during hot months can affect their skin and cause them to dry out. 

Aiming for morning or evening walks can help with this and ensure they are hydrated. If you recently changed shampoos, that may be the cause. While waiting for the skin to regain moisture, you can apply coconut oil or add some dog chews to improve their skin and fur. 

When to Worry About Dry Skin in Dogs

You know the ends and outs of taking care of your pup’s skin now. What do you do if none of the stuff is helping or the symptoms worsen with treatment? In that case, it’ll be time to consult a vet for professional treatment. It can save you and your pet in the long run from trying to manage it on your own. 

It can be treated if there is any underlying cause for the problem. If your dog has hair loss, scabs, open sores, excessive dandruff, itching, lethargy, weight gain, diarrhea, or vomiting, seek veterinary care. Sometimes itching and dry skin to the point a dog owner can’t manage it means a problem must be treated. Some health concerns that cause these issues will be covered below. 


Dogs can have several types of parasites, but fleas are one of the most common. They are parasitic bloodsuckers and can cause allergic flea dermatitis. A protein found in flea saliva has the potential to cause an allergic reaction in hypersensitive dogs. 

These dogs may experience severe scratching that causes the skin to become raw and predisposes them to the emergence of hot spots. Fleas feed on their hosts’ blood, and severe infestations in newborn pups or elderly pets can cause significant blood loss and anemia. Additionally, significant tapeworm carriers are fleas. 

The annual flea treatment process is necessary; it cannot be done only once. You should work with your dog’s veterinarian to develop a preventive health plan for your pet that includes regular flea prevention. This can ensure that your pet has an appropriate defense against flea bites throughout the year, not just during flea season. Oral or topical flea treatment options are available.

dog with fleas
One cause of dry skin in dogs is fleas. Be sure to bring your dog to the vet once a year for an annual flea treatment.

© ThamKC/

Cushing’s Disease

Tumors on the pituitary or adrenal glands are the source of Cushing’s disease, which impairs the endocrine system’s ability to interpret information from hormones in the bloodstream and interferes with maintaining hormonal balance. 

Cushing’s illness manifests physically over time, but dog owners frequently dismiss this as a normal part of aging. Canine Cushing’s disease manifests as apparent aging, slow healing, skin and coat issues, and convulsions. 


Dogs with hypothyroidism do so because their thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones. Since thyroid hormones are necessary for maintaining an average amount of calorie burning, a normal degree of tissue repair, and a healthy immune system, their absence from the bloodstream causes several changes in the body. 

The prevalence of hypothyroidism is higher in medium- to large-sized dogs. Breeds like Great Danes and Golden retrievers are more frequently impacted. Additionally, it affects dogs four years of age and older more frequently. The most typical symptoms are increased fatigue, weight gain, profuse shedding, and recurrent skin infections. 

Your dog may occasionally seem cooler than usual and seek warmth more frequently. On rare occasions, hypothyroidism might have a role in the emergence of aggressiveness issues. These clinical symptoms often appear gradually over several months.


It’s not okay to put lotion on your dog. Several great dog products can take excellent care of your dog’s skin. You can try specialized shampoos or lotions for your pup that will offer more benefits and be safer for your dog than your lotion. 

Reference this article if you need to treat your dog for flakes or itching to improve their skin. If you don’t see improvement in your dog’s skin, you may want to consult a vet to ensure there are no underlying problems. 

More often than not, itching and dry skin aren’t too problematic, and their vet will be able to help significantly. It’s great that you checked what is safe for your pup; you can share this with another dog owner who loves to slather lotion on themselves. Check out our other articles about dogs to help them live happier and healthier. 

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pom with lotion
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About the Author

Creepy-crawly creatures enthrall Marisa. Aside from raising caterpillars, she has a collection of spiders as pets. The brown recluse is her favorite spider of all time. They're just misunderstood. You don't have to worry about squishing the creatures as her catching, and relocating abilities can safely move stray centipedes or snakes to a new location that's not your living room.

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