Is Chlorhexidine Safe for Dogs

Is Chlorhexidine Safe for Dogs

Author WDF Staff


Many responsible dog owners have a dog first aid kit ready, just in case. It is best to be prepared for anything because being a dog owner will have you encountering situations you didn’t think were possible. Dogs have an exceptional talent for getting into trouble, and one of the things you should have in the dog first aid kit is chlorhexidine. Here is what you should know about chlorhexidine for dogs, its use, and whether it is safe for dogs.

What is chlorhexidine for dogs?

Chlorhexidine, or chlorhexidine gluconate, as it is also known, is an antiseptic and disinfectant that dog owners use for different purposes. It is something all humans should have at home, and the World Health Organization even listed it on their list of essential medications. It is mainly used for oral hygiene and to treat gingivitis.

Is chlorhexidine safe for dogs?

Yes! Chlorhexidine is safe for dogs to use. In fact, it is a very effective medication that dogs can really benefit from. Humana might use it for dental hygiene, but in dogs, it is used for wound cleaning. It has the same effects other disinfectants have. Here are some of the most common uses of chlorhexidine for dogs;

Ear cleaning

One of the most common uses of chlorhexidine for dogs is ear cleaning, especially chronic otitis externa. That is the inflammations of the outer part of the ear, and it is very effective against yeast, bacteria, and viruses.

Oral cleaning

If a dog has periodontal diseases, the vet might recommend chlorhexidine. This medication will clean the gums, soft tissue, and bones surrounding the affected teeth. It is also prescribed for gingivitis treatment, just like in humans.

dog shaking head

Skin issues

Another common use of chlorhexidine for dogs is for the treatment of superficial skin infections. Dogs can get cuts and bruises, and an effective way to disinfect the affected area is to use chlorhexidine. This medication is often used to fight hot spots in dogs.

Can chlorhexidine be bad for dogs?

The good news is - chlorhexidine is generally considered very safe for dogs. However, there are potential side effects it can cause. Dogs can be allergic to chlorhexidine. If you notice any signs of redness, itching, small red bumps, or any other symptoms of allergies, stop using it immediately. These situations are rare, but you should know they are possible.

Another thing dog owners should keep in mind is that there are different chlorhexidine solutions. They are used for different things, and you should never mix topical chlorhexidine with oral chlorhexidine for dogs. Here is a helpful chart of chlorhexidine usage on dogs;

  • 0.1% solution - For oral use
  • 1% solution - For ear cleaning
  • 2% solution - For wound cleaning (should be diluted)
  • 1-2% solution - Used in medicinal shampoo and conditioner

When can I use chlorhexidine on my dog?

The safest way to use this medication on your dog is to talk to your vet about it. Generally speaking, we would advise you to never give your dog any kind of medication on your own - call your vet and make sure you can safely use it on your dog (at least the first time you use it). You can use it when a dog has a minor injury, but don’t try to treat severe issues like ear infections or gingivitis without consulting your vet. If you misapply the medication, you can cause more trouble. Make sure you stick to your vet’s instructions.

Are there different types of chlorhexidine for dogs?

Chlorhexidine comes in different preparations, and each of them can be safely used on dogs. However, make sure you don’t use them in the wrong way. Here are the three preparations of this medicine;


Sprays are easy to use, and they are the best way to clean and disinfect the dog’s wounds. You can spray it directly to a cleaned wound, but you should never spray it in the dog’s mouth. It is NOT for oral use. In fact, it would be best to use a dog cone to prevent your dog from licking the sprayed wound.

black dog in bucket


There are chlorhexidine wipes that can be used for wound cleaning. They are handy for removing debris or pollutants from the injured area. Just be careful not to make further tears or damage to the wound.


This might be the most popular chlorhexidine preparation. The solutions are diluted, and before you use them, you should make sure you got the right one. We mentioned above what solution percentage is for what use, so be careful when picking it.

In conclusion

Chlorhexidine has many uses, and it is a medication all dog owners should have at home. It is excellent for helping your dog and making sure their minor accidents don’t turn into big health issues. You can store it and keep it in your dog first aid kit because you can never know what kind of trouble your dog can get into.

World Dog Finder team

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