Can You Put Baby Powder on a Dog? (Explained)

Can you put baby powder on a dog? Photo of a dog with a bottle of baby powder by its side.

Need to do something about the “dog smell” between grooming sessions? Baby powder is a standard go-to. But can you put baby powder on a dog? Read on to find out.

Baby powder is considered safe for dogs and works at both controlling their natural “dog scent” and providing a soft pleasant-smelling perfume in its place. It’s also a common go-to for treating fleas too. The dosage and frequency of use are both factors. Using too much can dry your dog’s skin out and cause itchiness and flaking.

More detail is waiting below.

What does baby powder do for my dog?

Firstly, let’s talk about what baby powder actually does for your dog. This is a lightly scented powder that, when used correctly, can protect chafing in those friction areas and minimize the discomfort in your dog’s skin. It absorbs moisture in your dog’s skin to help with oil secretions.

Its light scent will help mask that “dog smell,” too, as it works. This is a huge perk for those who naturally have very smelly dogs.

Will baby powder hurt my dog?

In most cases, no, baby powder will not hurt your dog. After all, it is intended for babies, so it’s meant for sensitive skin.

You will want to go with a non-talcum baby powder, however, as there is a connection in some cases between cancer and talcum.

You can find many talcum-free baby powders out there now, so you’ll have your pick!

Can I use baby powder on dogs for its smell?

Definitely! Let’s be honest: the reason that most of us consider baby powder for our dogs in the first place is that our dogs smell not-so-good, and baby powder does smell good.

Since we can’t take our dogs to the groomer for a professional bath every week, baby powder can help cut the smell between sessions.

You’ll want to go with a lightly scented baby powder, however. The heavily scented ones can often be overwhelming for our dog’s senses as well as yours if you use the powder all over your dog’s fur.

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The heavier it’s scented, too, the more likely it can cause a reaction in your dog’s skin. 

Pros and cons of baby powder for dogs

As with many options out there for your dog, you’ll want to consider both the pros and cons of baby powder seriously. Here they are:

Pros of baby powder

  • Great choice in between bath sessions
  • Helps mask natural dog scent
  • Balances oils in your dog’s fur
  • Softens fur as it works
  • Smells nice and refreshing

Cons of baby powder

  • Have to use it in a ventilated area to prevent inhalation
  • Might be too intense for dogs with sensitive skin
  • Can irritate respiratory issues
  • Can be dangerous if ingested

Pro perks

When you see the sheer amount of pros like that, using baby powder on your dog is certainly going to be a great option.

Not only is its scent going to help keep that scent at bay, but it also will help condition their fur and control moisture in your dog’s skin. It’s a win-win for you and your dog.

It’s also worth noting that baby powder is widely available and cost-effective. To those with a limited budget, baby powder can be an excellent replacement for those at-home products designed for dogs.

Con considerations

You owe it to your dog to make sure that you keep the cons in mind, of course. These cons are intended more as warnings so that you can learn how to use baby powder safely for your dog and keep it as a positive experience.

If you are concerned about its strength, you can always test it on a small patch of their skin first. After 24 hours, you will see if it reacted or not. If it was reaction-free, you could try using a small amount of it over your dog’s body.

Signs of a reaction include redness or obvious signs of irritation. As well, your dog will be paying attention to that area, too.

Does baby powder kill fleas?

Yes, baby powder is a great choice to help kill fleas. It does so by smothering them. You can spread the baby powder over your dog (more on that in a bit) and then use a comb to brush off the fleas and drown them in water thoroughly. 

Baby powder is an excellent alternative to those expensive and harsh medications and treatments that some dogs don’t handle well, too.

Plus, you can always keep it on hand so that you’ve got it if you notice that a flea infestation is setting in. The sooner you get to work on it, the better.

Do groomers put baby powder on dogs?

Most groomers won’t put baby powder on dogs because they just got their professional bath and brushing. So, there is no need to put baby powder on.

If you’re ever unsure, you can ask your groomer directly. Some will offer the option of it as a “final touch” but often won’t do it without letting you know.

Photo of a groomer putting baby powder on a dog.

How to use baby powder on a dog

If you’re interested in using baby powder on a dog, you’ll want to ensure that you do it safely to help protect your dog’s health and comfort. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Pour a small amount of the baby powder on your dog’s fur
  2. Rub it into your dog’s coat with your hands
  3. Do this until it’s wholly worked in
  4. If you see some residue left over, brush it off thoroughly

Less is more when it comes to the baby powder, remember. Ignore the temptation to use a large amount of it and just start with a small handful of it.

You’ll find that it will work well even in a small amount, and your dog will be safe and sound, too.

Alternatives to baby powder for dogs

There are some alternatives that you can consider for your dog if you are concerned about the safety of baby powder.

Your best choice will be products designed for a dog’s skin specifically. Your vet is a great person to ask for a lit of these since they are professionals. 

Try t-shirt therapy, which helps cover their skin and keep it safe from irritants. You’ll want to choose one formulated for dogs, of course, and use it as directed. There are many examples of this online.

A lot of the itching and smell support that lead many to turn to baby powder in the first place can be prevented with proper grooming and bathing.

In between those sessions, you’ll want to use a brush daily or at least several times a week. This will help work the oils through their fur and keep their skin and fur comfortable.

Lastly, you’ll want to take a close look at your dog’s health and nutrition. Itching is often a sign that something is out of balance with your dog’s health.

Ask your vet to check their nutritional health and see if allergy medications or an adjusted diet can help them experience less itching.

FAQ about dogs and baby powder

There are a lot of common questions around using baby powder with dogs, so here are some of the main ones to read up on as you consider your options.

Can I Put Baby Powder On My Dog To Stop Itching?

Yes, you can use baby powder specifically for your dog that is itching. However, you’ll want to talk to your vet about the underlying reason for your dog’s itching.

This is just for general itchiness, however. If there is a rash, don’t use the powder. Take your dog to the vet to see what’s going on.

Can I Put Baby Powder On My Dog’s Hot Spots?

From a heat rash to an allergy-related rash to hot spots, cuts, etc., these should all be left alone. Putting powder on them will only further dry them out, complicating the healing.

You should take your dog to the vet to figure out what’s happening. Your vet will then recommend a course of treatment. You can ask them if the baby powder is safe or not. If it is, use it as directed. If not, don’t use it!

Can I Put Baby Powder On My Dog’s Paws?

it sounds great, it isn’t the safest choice. Firstly, it can be hard to properly disperse the baby powder on your dog’s paws evenly. This means that over-drying the skin is very common. Secondly, paws are naturally sensitive and will be more likely to cause your dog distress with over-use.

The other potentially risky factor is that dogs can easily lick their paws. Since the baby powder isn’t safe for your dog to eat or breathe in, it makes it risky. Try to use pet-safe products such as a paw balm when it comes to their paws.

Can I Use Baby Powder On My Dog’s Ears?

No, you should never use baby powder on your dog’s ears. They are very sensitive and will cause some sort of reaction. Much like the paws, use only ear-approved products for your dog’s sensitive ears, such as ear wipes.

Can I Use Baby Powder On Dogs For Fleas?

As already explained, yes, you can use it safely for fleas. However, you will still want to consider the medicated options for a severe flea infestation. Baby powder may not be enough to eradicate it.

Why Do Some Experts Think That Baby Powder Is Dangerous For Dogs?

Many feel that baby powder is dangerous for dogs. How you use it is important. Make sure your dog doesn’t inhale or eat it since this is where a lot of the danger lies. You’ll also need to be careful to use it in a ventilated area and not overuse it. 

If you are concerned about the conflicting advice that you see out there, the best thing that you can do is talk to your vet about it. They’ll be able to offer a professional opinion coupled with personalized advice to your dog in particular.

In General

Most professionals agree that lightly-scented baby powder is safe for dogs in small amounts. It helps treat itching, absorbs moisture and oil on the skin, and masks the natural “dog smell.”

There are significant pros and cons to understanding whether it’s the right choice for your dog. You’ll need to know how to use it properly to prevent worsening the itching and keep your dog safe, too. Moderation is key!

Baby powder is safe to use with your dog as long as you do it safely and responsibly. The goal is to understand the reason for using it and what alternatives are out there if you need them.

Know someone who is struggling with a stinky dog? Consider sharing this to help them out!

Sara Santos

Writer, Editor and member of the Council, I am a dog person and I thrive to get the answers that will help you provide the best care a dog can have. You can also find me on my personal blog here.