Can I Use Clobetasol Propionate on My Dogs?

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Veterinarians regularly use clobetasol propionate to treat dogs. Clobetasol propionate is a high-potency synthetic corticosteroid available as a gel, spray, emollient, foam, and cream, and the .05% strength cream is available as an over-the-counter treatment for skin disorders in animals (See Reference 1, See Reference2). When used on the advice of a licensed veterinarian, clobetasol cream is a safe and effective way to heal your dog's irritated skin (See Reference 2).


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The Facts

Although every mammal naturally produces corticosteroids, concentrated synthetic versions, like clobetasol, are regularly used to treat psoriasis, eczema, and other canine skin problems. Dogs have been used as test subjects for the same cream and dosage in humans (for example, in Kimura and Doi's "Toxicologic Pathology" article for issue no. 5 of 1999), affirming that the drug acts analogously for both species (See Reference 3). According to the FDA's pharmaceutical label for clobetasol propionate cream, this is one of the highest-potency topical corticosteroids available and should be used sparingly (See Reference 4). Thus, speak to your veterinarian; a less aggressive treatment might be equally effective. As the Organic Pet Digest shows, a variety of environmental instigators can give your dog a rash, and common symptoms like itching, redness, and flaking can be soothed with mild shampoos or baking soda from your fridge (Reference 4).



As the FDA drug label describes, propionate cream is absorbed through the skin, relieving itching and pain when applied to the problem patch. As an immunosuppressant, or a medication which limits the body's immune response, it also reduces inflammation and redness, calming the skin and allowing it to heal (Reference 4).



First, use an Elizabethan collar to prevent your dog from reaching the lesion. Find one at any chain pet store; the cheaper plastic ones are just as effective as more expensive inflatable styles. Then, according to administration instructions from the pharmaceutical label, gently apply a thin layer of cream onto the rash, twice daily, until completely absorbed. Stop use when the rash has healed, and do not apply the cream for more than two weeks (Reference 4).



According to the FDA pharmaceutical label, you should not cover the rash; this can further increase the potency of the drug (Reference 4). If the skin lesion fails to heal, or worsens, contact your veterinarian; your dog could have a more serious condition.


Side Effects

Stinging, burning, and itching are the most frequent side effects of treatment, according to the FDA (See Reference 4). In rare cases, according to the Clobetasol Side Effects page on, allergic reactions can occur. If your dog has difficulty breathing or a swollen face after using the cream, bring them to the nearest vet hospital immediately, as this indicates a serious allergic reaction (See Reference 5).

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.