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Benzoyl Peroxide for a Dog

| Updated September 26, 2017

Benzoyl peroxide is an anti-bacterial preparation that also eliminates oiliness. It is beneficial to humans as well as dogs for certain skin conditions. It comes in the form of shampoo, cleanser or topical ointment, cream or gel. It is for external use only. Avoid your dog’s eyes, nose and the inside of his mouth when applying this medication.


Benzoyl peroxide is a treatment for dogs with skin conditions such as pyotraumatic dermatitis (hot spots), seborrhea, canine acne and Demodectic mange. According to Vet Info, hot spots are inflamed skin caused when a dog constantly licks or chews an area that itches due to bacteria or allergens. Merck Veterinary Manual indicates that seborrhea is a skin disease that can present as scaly and/or oily patches. It may be hereditary or the result of underlying conditions such as allergies or endocrine problems. Canine acne appears as blackheads and red bumps on the lips and chin of a dog, usually between the ages of five months to a year. Demodectic mange is a skin disease caused by Demodex mites, mainly in young dogs, according to Doctors Foster and Smith.


You may use shampoos containing benzoyl peroxide once a week, according to Dog Shampoo. Benzoyl peroxide cleans the dog’s hair follicles, preventing infections. More frequent use will dry out the dog’s fur. Use cleansers, ointments and gels daily on the specific areas of mange, acne, seborrhea or hot spots. Vet Info indicates that you should clean sores and lesions gently and thoroughly with the anti-bacterial cleanser. After drying the skin, apply the ointment or gel.


In the case of seborrhea, Merck notes that the use of benzoyl peroxide shampoo may result in a worsened condition during the first two weeks of treatment. This is because the scales that are sloughed from the skin get caught in the dog’s fur. Continue to bathe weekly to eliminate the scales. The degreasing effects of benzoyl peroxide help to remove the oiliness that sometimes accompanies seborrhea. According to Vet Info, the lesions from Demodectic mange may also worsen initially during treatment.

Side Effects

Dog Shampoo notes that benzoyl peroxide typically does not cause side effects, other than those caused by the ingredient’s drying properties. However, if you use a human medication on a dog, it can result in pain or redness. According to Pet Place, products for humans usually contain 10 percent benzoyl peroxide, while preparations for dogs contain only 5 percent. Consult your veterinarian to obtain a pet formula of benzoyl peroxide.


If any type of benzoyl peroxide preparation is causing irritation to your dog’s skin, consult a veterinarian for an alternative treatment. Antibiotics are necessary for severe skin infections and in some cases your veterinarian may also prescribe corticosteroids to aid in the healing process.