The Risks of Ingesting Hydrocortisone in Dogs 

Hydrocortisone cream is a topical medication commonly used by humans to alleviate itching, inflammation, and other skin irritations. Hydrocortisone cream can sometimes be safe and effective for treating specific canine skin conditions, but it’s vital to be aware of potential risks and seek professional advice from a veterinarian applying this cream to your dog. Dogs can ingest the cream if they lick or groom the treated area, which may lead to various complications and adverse effects. It’s essential to monitor your dog’s response to hydrocortisone cream. Continue reading below to explore the potential side effects when using hydrocortisone on your pup.  

Understanding the Potential Dangers of Hydrocortisone  

Using cortisone cream on dogs can provide temporary relief from itching, inflammation, rashes, and other irritations. These creams can be effective for short-term use; however, it is essential to apply it with caution, especially around areas that dogs can lick or ingest. Cortisone cream contains corticosteroids, which can have adverse effects if ingested in large amounts. Dogs have a natural tendency to lick and groom themselves, making it important to consider the risk of ingestion when applying any topical cream. If a dog licks or ingests cortisone cream, it can lead to various health complications. 

Symptoms of Ingesting Cortisone Cream  

If your dog licks the area where you applied the cream, they can experience side effects. Depending on the amount ingested and the ingredients, symptoms can range from mild to severe. These may include:  

  • Panting  
  • Pacing  
  • Increased hunger/thirst  
  • Vomiting  
  • Diarrhea  
  • Abdomen pain  
  • Black-tarry stool  


It is important to understand that hydrocortisone cream will only provide temporary relief and not address the underlying cause of skin issues. To ensure effective treatment, it is recommended to take your dog to a veterinary clinic, where your veterinarian can diagnose the problem and prescribe appropriate medication. If you have any questions or concerns about the use of hydrocortisone cream, contact Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661 for assistance.