Is Baby Powder Safe for Dogs? Vet Approved Safety Advice

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The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Baby powder is a staple in many people’s houses, regardless of if they have children. The interesting thing about baby products? Several of them are pet friendly. Granted, not all are safe, but rest assured, baby powder is not one of these products – baby powder is 100% safe for your dog.  

That hasn’t always been the case, though. Ingredients in baby powder were toxic for humans and pets at one point and caused quite a scare. This article breaks down baby powder’s questionable past and how you can apply baby powder safely on your pet. And if you don’t want to use baby powder, we’re listing some alternatives as well.

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The Baby Powder Controversy

Baby powder is a cosmetic or hygienic product made from talc, cornstarch, arrowroot, fragrance, and other powders.

Here’s how baby powder works: you sprinkle some baby powder over a rash or moist area and the powder absorbs moisture and prevents chafing. Some women commonly use baby powder on and around their bikini area, and parents in general like to use it on babies to prevent diaper rash.

Talc was the primary ingredient until the 1970s when studies showed links between talc and ovarian cancer1. Talcum powder should also not be inhaled as it could cause potential respiratory issues. Talc contains asbestos, which is a naturally occurring mineral that can cause serious health problems. Many baby powders these days are talc-free. Even so, some still use talc, so be careful about where and how you apply baby powder.

The baby product giant Johnson & Johnson received over 6,600 lawsuits demanding the company be held responsible for their cancer-causing product. Since then, J&J and other companies have released newer formulas containing better ingredients and are therefore safer for everyone, including your pup!

The Centers for Disease Control denies any evidence that short-term physical contact with talc causes permanent health effects, but chronic exposure can be an issue. Again, this is if your baby powder contains talc. A quick check on the ingredient label can clear things right up.

Baby Powder
Image Credit: Onlyshaynestockphoto, Shutterstock

How to Apply Baby Powder to Your Dog’s Coat Safely

Baby powder may be used on your dog as a way to help freshen their coat, absorb extra skin oils, detangle hair, and reduce moisture in areas prone to hot spots. Regardless of what you are using baby powder for on your dog, be sure to speak to your veterinarian before you apply any.

Regardless of if your baby powder is talc-free or not, avoid putting baby powder around your pet’s genitals and face since this can cause irritation. Don’t let them inhale the powder, and never let your dog lick baby powder, either.

Brush or pat the powder into the hair until it’s absorbed and remove any excess powder with a damp cloth.

Alternatives to Baby Powder

If you’re uncomfortable with baby powder or ran out, you can opt for alternatives that do just as good of a job. Cornstarch, arrowroot starch, tapioca starch, oat flour, and baking soda are great options.

Does Baby Powder Kill Fleas?

No scientific evidence exists that baby powder actually kills fleas. Baby powder can absorb your dog’s natural oils and perhaps make it challenging for adult fleas (not larvae) to stick to the fur.

Baby Powder
Image Credit: MIA Studio, Shutterstock



Baby powder is a nice-to-have product in your medical cabinet, as long as talcum is out of the picture. If all you have is talcum-based baby powder, it’s wise to keep it away from your dog and opt for the alternatives.

Featured Image Credit: namtipStudio, Shutterstock

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