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Uses for Scarlet Oil

| Updated September 26, 2017

For generations, horse owners have used scarlet oil for basic wound care. Available over the counter, this product can be used on canines as long as they can't lick the affected area. Do not use it on felines, or livestock intended for food.

Scarlet Oil Uses

If your horse or dog experiences scratches, abrasions, lacerations or similar minor wounds, scarlet oil may be an appropriate treatment. Scarlet oil is not for use in puncture wounds, on large wounds or severe burns.

Applying Scarlet Oil

Scarlet oil comes in a spray can. Flush out the wound with water prior to applying the spray. Some wounds may require minor hair clipping before the scarlet oil is applied. Shake the can before using, and hold it about 4 to 6 inches from the wound and spray thoroughly. Spray the wound once or twice daily until it heals. Scarlet oil may be used beneath a bandage.

Scarlet Oil Ingredients

Scarlet oil's active ingredient is parachlorometaxylenol, a disinfectant. It also contains mineral oil, pine and eucalyptus oil, isopropyl and benzyl alcohol and methyl salicylate. Scarlet oil's distinctive coloring derives from Biebrich scarlet red.

Side Effects and Contraindications

In some horses, scarlet oil can cause dermatitis in the area around the wound. If you notice any swelling, redness or similar inflammation near the wound, stop applying scarlet oil and contact your veterinarian. Avoid getting scarlet oil into an animal's eyes or mucous membranes.


  • Scarlet oil is very flammable. Don't use it near any heat source. Don't incinerate or puncture the empty container.