My Dog Ate Desitin – What Should I Do Now?

Dogs are naturally drawn to anything that smells like food. This includes items such as soap, lotion, sunscreen, and especially diaper cream! 

These products may be appealing because they often smell good or taste sweet. 

What many people don’t realize is that these products can cause serious problems for a dog’s digestive system if ingested in sufficient quantities.

Is Desitin Harmful To Dogs?

Desitin (or any other diaper rash cream) is a very dangerous substance for dogs to ingest. 

The active ingredient in Desitin is Zinc Oxide, a substance that has been known to cause serious issues with the bowels of both humans and animals. 

Ingestion of large amounts may damage the intestinal lining or even lead to complete blockage.

Is Desitin Toxic?

It’s hard to judge the toxicity of a substance based on how much it takes to cause symptoms. 

One reason for this is that animals and humans can react differently to the same amount of Zinc Oxide because dogs have a higher metabolism than us. 

Dogs (and humans!) may develop an allergy or sensitivity to a toxin even if it did not cause issues in previous exposures! Just because your dog has never had problems with diaper cream does not mean he will not react badly this time around.

What Happens If My Dog Licks Desitin?

Ingestion is not the only danger! Even if your dog licks a small amount of Desitin, he could develop diarrhea or an upset stomach. 

Diarrhea and/or vomiting can cause dehydration, which in turn can lead to serious illness. 

After licking Desitin, you should definitely watch your dog closely for any signs of illness.

What Are The Signs That My Dog Ate Desitin?

dog extremely unwell

The stomach is lined by several layers of tissue, including a mucus membrane layer called the mucosa. 

When Zinc Oxide comes into contact with these tissues, complications such as erosion, ulceration, and perforation may occur. This is especially dangerous in a dog’s stomach because the tissue there is very thin. If the tissues become compromised and leakage occurs, life-threatening complications can result.

If your dog has consumed Desitin or any other diaper cream with Zinc Oxide, it is important to watch out for signs of stomach irritation and intestinal blockage over the next several hours. These include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lack of appetite
  • Abdominal pain/cramping
  • Inability to pass stool (stranguria)
  • Fever

These symptoms may seem mild if they are occurring alone, but if your pet also appears lethargic or depressed you should consider taking him to the veterinarian immediately!

What Do I Do?

If the dog ate less than 0.5mL, flush out the mouth with water and ensure a vet is seen immediately. 

In most cases, you should also contact your local poison control center using the emergency number listed on the back of their card.

If the dog ate more than 0.5mL, monitor for vomiting and diarrhea over several hours to make sure that no serious blockage occurs; if it does not occur within 12-24 hours go ahead and see a vet have them take an x-ray of the stomach to see what happened inside. 

Make sure they calculate how much was actually consumed so that they can administer appropriate treatments (if any) as quickly as possible when determining what you should do. In most cases, call your veterinarian or poison control immediately!

If the dog ate more than 1mL (and has not vomited/expelled any), take it to a vet IMMEDIATELY and follow their instructions for treatment. 

If the dog has already vomited, it is imperative that the vet sees him ASAP; as there may be Zinc Oxide still in his stomach which they will need to flush out before it becomes a blockage.

PLEASE NOTE: Desitin contains Zinc Oxide which is toxic if ingested by dogs or cats – even just a small amount can cause complications. Make sure you keep ALL medications (including this one) away from your pets at all times!

What Will The Vet Do?

dog with first aid

If your veterinarian suspects that your dog has consumed Desitin, they will most likely require an X-ray to determine the extent of the damage. 

If surgery is required and a large amount of Zinc Oxide remains in the GI tract, it may be necessary for the vet to use a syringe to flush out their intestines. 

Even with surgery, there’s no guarantee that your dog will fully recover. It is important to take action as soon as possible if you suspect that a pet has eaten Desitin or any other diaper cream product!

How To Prevent This From Happening In The Future?

Preventing your dog from eating Desitin is the best way to protect him against these issues. 

If he ever gets a diaper rash, talk to your veterinarian about appropriate treatments instead of turning to a store-bought product! 

You can also try using something like “Petroleum Jelly” or “Bag Balm”. These may not be quite as effective, but your dog won’t have any issues if he accidentally ingests them!


In all cases, you should contact your veterinarian immediately if you notice that your pet has eaten a large amount of Desitin or other diaper rash cream. 

It is hard to judge the severity of this situation based on descriptions from an online article due to individual variations and sensitivities. 

Your vet will know which poison control center to call based on the specifics of your dog’s condition. 

If left untreated for too long, Zinc Oxide might even cause death in severe cases! 

Remember – take action quickly when it comes to any potential poisoning! Stay calm and avoid panicking; it could help save your dog’s life.

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