Diaper rash ointment is commonly used to treat diaper rash, a skin irritation that affects infants and toddlers wearing diapers. It is effective at reducing itching, redness, and skin inflammation caused by diapers. Dogs use their nose and mouth to investigate new things. By doing so they can accidentally lick and ingest products such as diaper rash ointment. What could happen if your dog ends up eating diaper rash ointment? 

Diaper Rash Ointment and Dogs

There are many baby items, such as diaper rash ointment, that are toxic to dogs. Dogs risk fatal poisoning should they inadvertently ingest diaper rash ointment. Many diaper rash ointments contain zinc oxide. Zinc oxide is a product widely used in baby products. While it is considered safe for babies, it can negatively affect dogs. Some diaper rash ointments also contain high quantities of vitamins. These vitamins can cause poisoning in dogs if consumed in high doses.

The main concern with these ointments is that they can be very irritating to the GI tract. If your dog attempts to vomit the ingested ointment up it can cause aspiration. This can lead to serious and even life-threatening aspiration pneumonia. 

Clinical Signs of Zinc Oxide Poisoning

If you have a playful dog, zinc oxide poisoning is a real possibility, as your dog can easily mistake a tube of diaper rash ointment for a plaything, puncturing the tube and swallowing its contents. Common symptoms of zinc oxide poisoning include:

  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Irritation of GI tract
  • Stomach pain
  • Pale gums or tongue
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy

If your dog ingests diaper rash ointment, you should contact your veterinarian and Pet Poison Helpline® immediately, as the symptoms can progress to more serious health issues.


Prevention is always the best course of action when keeping your dog safe from poisoning. By keeping diaper rash ointment and other potentially toxic substances out of reach, you can help ensure your furry friend’s well-being. However, if you suspect your dog has ingested diaper rash ointment, call your veterinarian and Pet Poison Helpline® at (855) 764-7661 for immediate medical help. At the clinic, your vet may administer IV fluids to address dehydration and prescribe other medications to alleviate any symptoms your pup is experiencing. In addition to keeping diaper rash ointment out of your dog’s reach, you should also be mindful of other medications or household products containing zinc oxide, like certain sunscreens and lotions.