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Your dog's skin is her first line of defense against germs and contaminants from the outside world. Infections of the skin can lead to deeper infections if they leech into a dog's bloodstream and begin attacking the body from the inside. Always keep the best dog skin infection treatment in your canine first aid kit for use at the first signs of infection.

Seek your veterinarian's help if your dog contracts a skin infection. While it may look like a little spot on a dog's skin, skin infections in dogs are a serious matter and the smallest skin infection can spread quickly.

Beginning signs of a dog skin infection include:

  • redness
  • bumps on the skin
  • open sores
  • constant licking or scratching of the infected area
  • shaking of the head or scratching of the ears

Dog skin infections can be caused by fungus (like yeast), bacteria or parasites. There may be an underlying cause like allergies. For example, if your dog has an itchy skin and scratching due to allergies, this will cause an open sore or wound on the skin that will later become infected.

Using a skin infection treatment for dogs is an effective way to prevent more serious issues. Below, we discuss more on what you need to know about these treatments, as well as review and rank the best dog skin infection treatment available over the counter:

How to Treat Skin Infections in Dogs

How to Treat Skin Infections in Dogs like demodicosis in dogsThere are several causes and dog skin infection types, but majority of products will work regardless of the exact reason. Your vet should always be the first source on what best dog skin infection treatment to use and how to use it. Before you pick the product, figure out your dog skin condition and reason for infections.

Skin infections in dogs that come with itching are caused by fleas in most cases (and, subsequently, dog flea dermatitis allergy), as well as atopic dermatitis, staph, parasites, Demodex mites (mange, or other mites in dogs), Sarcoptes mites (or scabies in dogs), allergies and, finally, bacteria, which is a result of a pet having any mentioned dog skin conditions.

Most best dog skin infection treatment products will treat majority of these skin infections in dogs, but in different ways. You can pick between dog shampoo, spray, liquid solution, wipes or ointment. What you choose depends on how and where you're going to use it, and the type of dog skin infection your pet has.

Rule Out Internal Causes of Your Dog's Skin Condition

Consider if the reason your dog is itching is due to a more serious health condition that may need a very specific treatment. Dog skin conditions and problems can be caused by serious diseases like cancer, Cushing's disease, autoimmune disease, hyperthyroidism or hormone imbalances in the canine's body. While they usually do not cause itching in dogs, they may be interrelated with the above mentioned skin infections in dogs.

“As there are numerous causes of skin lesions in dogs, it is important to determine the underlying cause to help guide treatment recommendations.”
– Dr. Alison Diesel, DVM [source]

This is why it's important to seek veterinary care quickly. You can use the best dog skin infection treatment products while you're waiting to get an appointment, but your vet will give your dog a thorough examination to see if there is any underlying conditions that lead to these dog skin conditions in the first place.

Why and When to Use Over the Counter Dog Skin Infection Treatments?

The reason many pet owners choose to use some of the best otc dog skin infection treatments is because more and more dogs are becoming resistant to prescription antibiotic treatments that veterinarians prescribe. Due to overuse, the bacteria has become immune to these treatments, and some over-the-counter products work better.

According to new research, veterinarians now often recommend using topical treatments for skin infections in dogs instead of the expensive, prescription-based antibiotics.

“Although we’re used to thinking of topical products as adjunct treatments used in addition to antibiotics, that thinking has changed, and dermatologists are now advocating that topicals be used instead of antibiotics wherever possible”
– Dr. Douglas J. DeBoer, DVM [source]

While topical treatments like the ones mentioned below – ointments, sprays and liquid solutions among the best dog skin infection treatments – should be the first step towards battling skin infections in dogs, it's also recommended to combine several options, such as using antiseptic wipes and bathing a dog with antibacterial shampoo (like the Curaseb one, for example) to treat these infections more effectively and quickly.

Skin infections in dogsSome pet owners are worried that bathing dogs with skin infections will dry out their skin and cause more problems, but  that is a misconception and it was never true. Weekly, and in some cases, daily baths are still recommended for dogs with skin infections. These baths will rid your dog from possible causes of skin infections like bacteria, allergens and other agents (e.g. yeast and mites).

Your veterinarian will recommend the exact bathing schedule based on the exact cause of a dog's skin condition. Occasional bath during a week, paired with topical treatments like an antimicrobial spray or medicated solution have been observed to be very effective, such as in the 2015 study by Olivry where it was demonstrated how combined treatment works best for dog dermatitis.

“We know that bathing removes allergens and infectious agents like bacteria and yeast, and helps restore epidermal function in humans. Can it do the same in dogs? It’s a bit unclear, but I’ve observed it helps a lot with my atopic patients. Some can even be controlled that way alone.”
– Dr. John Plant, DVM [source]

If your pet is dealing with a skin condition, consult with your own veterinarian, get one of the best dog skin infection treatments and preferably several different types, and develop a treatment plan of how you're going to tackle this on your dogs. Always use the products as directed and as advised by your veterinarian.

Top 7 Best Dog Skin Infection Treatment Brands

1Zymox Pet Spray with Hydrocortisone
by Pet King Brands

Find it on Amazon ($13.99)
Find it on Chewy ($12.99)

The first on the list of best dog skin infection treatment products is a brand that's already established itself as the top product for ear infection treatments for dogs. Pet King Brands’ Zymox Pet Spray with 1% Hydrocortisone contains the patented naturally-derived LP3 Enzyme system of Zymox which is a technology that destroys bacteria, fungus, and many viruses.

No prior cleaning to the affected area is required in its application. It works for dogs and cats, and is recommended for atopic dermatitis, pyoderma, wounds, ringworm, hot spots, and other skin infections. The addition of hydrocortisone reduces inflammation of affected areas.

Zymox Spray with Hydrocortisone (2 oz)
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Zymox Spray with Hydrocortisone (2 oz)
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You will find Pet King Brands’ Zymox Pet Spray to be effective for the treatment of skin irritations due to allergies, as well. This is because it contains hydrocortisone, which works on skin problems of various origins, not just viral, bacterial, or fungal. It works fast, too.

Skin that’s raw from intense scratching will generally dry up in days, there will be an almost instant relief from itching, paw-chewing will stop in a matter of hours, and infections and breakouts will clear up in a week or less. You may have noticed that this dog skin infection treatment comes in a very small bottle, so while it’s pretty effective, it’s very expensive, too.

Active Ingredient: Hydrocortisone 0.5%.
Other Ingredients: Aloe vera, benzoic acid, benzyl alcohol, dipropylene glycol, glucose oxidase, glycerin, isopropyl myristate, lactoferrin, lactoperoxidase, lysozyme, potssium iodide, propylene, glycol, purified water, sodium benzoate, tripropylene glycol, zinc gluconate.

PROS:

  • Contains naturally derived LP3 enzyme, a technology that destroys bacteria, fungus and many viruses
  • Contains 1% hydrocortisone
  • No pre-cleaning of the skin needed
  • Suitable for dogs and cats
CONS:

  • Expensive: very small size of the bottle and may not be the best value for the money

 

2Nu-Stock Ointment
by Durvet

Find it on Amazon ($14.90)
Unavailable on Chewy

Durvet Nu-Stock Ointment is used as a topical solution for typical skin irritations, including itching, mange, ear mites, ringworm, swelling, loss of hair due to constant scratching and chewing, wounds, bruises, and burns.

It is applicable to dogs, cattle, and horses. Unlike Vet Basics Lime Sulfur Dip, this dog skin infection treatment does not involve the tedious process of diluting, dipping and drying. It’s simply topically applied on the affected area and reapplied after 3 days until the affected area completely heals.

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Pierce's Nu-Stock Ointment, 12-Ounce
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Pierce's Nu-Stock Ointment, 12-Ounce
  • Nu-Stock Ointment. Animal...
  • Provides relief of red mange,...
  • For dogs, cattle, and horses.
  • Promotes fast healing
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Possibly one advantage of Durvet Nu-Stock Ointment over others is its wide range of application. For instance, medications for wounds and mite infestation are usually two different things, but Durvet brings the two in just one ointment.

The strong odor of sulfur might not be what you would prefer, but this foul-smelling ointment works. When applied on your pet’s fur, it would look like your dog got smeared with some greenish yellow goo. But healing is fast, and that’s all-important.

Ingredients: Special Mixed Oils, Sulphur, Natural Resins.

PROS:

  • Contains no steroids
  • Kills mites on contact
  • Promotes regrowth of hair
  • Applicable to dogs, cattle and horses
  • Easy-to-use topical ointment
CONS:

  • Strong sulfur odor (smells like rotten eggs)
  • This is a greasy topical treatment which may smear onto a dog's bedding, furniture, flooring

 

3Curaseb Antifungal & Antibacterial Shampoo
by Bexley Labs

Find it on Amazon ($19.95)
Unavailable on Chewy

Baxley Lab’s Curaseb Chlorhexidine Medicated Shampoo works on a wide range of skin maladies caused by fungi and bacteria. The active ingredients in this medicated shampoo are chlorhexidine gluconate and ketoconazole. It’s made in the USA and is highly recommended by veterinarians to treat yeast infections, ringworm, pyoderma, skin allergies, and other skin irritations and itching in cats and pets.

Curaseb Antifungal & Antibacterial Chlorhexidine...
5,805 Reviews
Curaseb Antifungal & Antibacterial Chlorhexidine...
  • ★ ELIMINATES YEAST,...
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  • ★ MADE IN THE USA: All...
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You will find Bexley Labs Curaseb Antifungal & Antibacterial Chlorhexidine Shampoo potent enough to have a quick effect on your pets’ skin problems but mild enough not to cause redness or further irritation. It’s gentle even on slightly broken skin. It contains no soap, but lathers very well. It also has a pleasant cucumber melon scent.

This third best dog skin infection treatment will help to provide instant relief for dogs suffering from intense itching. It will effectively stop their vigorous scratching and alleviate their discomfort. For optimum efficacy when using this shampoo, we recommend leaving the lather on the dog’s skin for several minutes before rinsing, especially for cases of ringworm and more severe skin diseases.

PROS:

  • Works on skin infections caused by bacteria and fungi
  • Active ingredients are chlorhexidine gluconate and ketoconazole
  • Made in the USA
  • Formulated for dogs and cats
CONS:

  • This shampoo is red and may leave towels pink if you don't rinse a dog well enough

 

4Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Spray
by SynergyLabs

Find it on Amazon ($7.61)
Find it on Chewy ($6.95)

Chlorhexidine Gluconate is the active ingredient in SynergyLabs Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antiseptic & Antifungal Spray. It is a biocide with antibacterial and antifungal properties. Aside from this biocide, this medicated spray also contains keratin and aloe vera which both help in healing and conditioning the scalp. It is effective against dermatitis, pyoderma, ringworm, and other skin irritations and breakouts of various origins.

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We think that SynergyLabs’ Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antiseptic & Antifungal Spray is much easier to implement as treatment than shampoos of the same formulation. Spraying a dog every day is understandably much simpler than bathing an unwilling dog twice a week. We also think that because of that relative ease, there’s better compliance to procedures with this spray than with medicated shampoos. That eventually brings about better results within a short period of time.

There’s no question about the convenience of applying medicine through a spray. This would also work fine when applied by dabbing but would not be as convenient as when it was sprayed on. In rare instances, however, this product may come with a defective nozzle.

Ingredients: Purified Water, Lidocaine Hci, Glycerin, Polysorbate-20, Hydrocortisone Acetate, Benzethonium Chloride, Dmdm-Hydantoin, Allantoin, Lactic Acid, Wheat Germ Oil, Fragrance

PROS:

  • Active ingredient is Chlorhexidine Gluconate
  • Antibacterial and antifungal
  • Contains keratin and aloe to help soothe and heal the skin
  • Paraben free
CONS:

  • Some dogs may not like the spray bottle itself (they'll be anxious about the sound it makes)
  • Some issues with the bottle's nozzle

 

5Vet Basics Lime Sulfur Dip
by Revival Animal Health

Find it on Amazon ($18.36)
Unavailable on Chewy

Revival Animal Health’s Vet Basics Lime Sulfur Dip is an antimicrobial and antiparasitic at the same time. It is sulfurated lime solution, which works on diseases caused by microorganisms and parasites.

It’s a concentrated liquid so it has to be diluted first before application. You may place the diluted liquid in a pail and dip the pet into it or use a sponge to apply the diluted medicine on the affected spot.

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This had been widely used for treating pets with ringworm. If you had been through a long battle with ringworm in your pet and have used and spent a lot for prescription medications but nothing worked, then Revival Animal Health Vet Basics Lime Sulfur Dip could be the solution you’ve been looking for.

Vet Basics Lime Sulfur Dip has had similar success on scabies, mange, and raw skin caused by insect bites and constant scratching. It must be mentioned though that sulfur dip has the lingering smell of rotten eggs. Other than that, it’s safe on most pets including dogs, very effective, and quite cheap.

PROS:

  • Antimicrobial and antiparasitic
  • Easy to use by dipping your dog or sponging this best dog skin infection treatment on the affected area
  • Safe to use on puppies and kittens
CONS:

  • Very concentrated liquid, so needs to be diluted before use
  • Because of the sulfur, this has the lingering smell of rotten eggs

 

6Antiseptic and Antifungal Medicated Spray
by Pet MD

Find it on Amazon ($14.99)
Find it on Chewy ($14.99)

Similar to Curaseb, this antiseptic and antifungal spray from Pet MD contains chlorhexidine and ketoconazole as its active ingredients. It also contains aloe vera, which helps soothe the skin. This is used by directly spraying on the affected area. It is used to treat minor cuts, insect bites, dermatitis, pyoderma, ringworm and allergies.

Pet MD - Antiseptic and Antifungal Medicated Spray...
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The Pet MD Antiseptic & Antifungal Medicated Spray has essential fatty acids and Vitamin E, which are beneficial to the skin. It is a non-stinging formula and is gentle enough to wipe around the face and clean folds, underarms and groin area. It cleans, deodorizes and relieves itching.

This spray has a slightly sticky consistency, which helps to keep the medication adhere to the skin better. It effectively stops dogs from chewing and licking their paws. There are two reasons for that. The medicine has an awful taste that discourages dogs from licking. And, as soon as the medicine starts working, the itchiness is reduced. Some dogs are wary of the spray and pump idea, so if your dogs are like that, you may use cotton swabs to apply this best dog skin infection treatment.

Active Ingredients: Chlorhexidine Gluconate 2% and Ketoconazole 1% in solubilizing vehicle.
Other Ingredients: Water, Propylene Glycol, Glycerine, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe) Leaf Juice, Dioctyl Sodium Sulphosuccinate, Lactic Acid, Polysorbate 20, Fragrance, Benzyl Alcohol.

PROS:

  • Antiseptic and antifungal
  • Active ingredients are chlorhexidine and ketoconazole
  • Non-stinging
  • Made with aloe, essential fatty acids and Vitamin E to soothe and heal the skin
  • Has a bad taste that discourages licking
CONS:

  • Some dogs may not like the spray bottle, and be afraid of the sound it makes
  • Less effective than stronger products mentioned above

 

73-Way Ointment for Dogs
by Sulfodene

Find it on Amazon ($4.19)
Find it on Chewy ($4.19)

Sulfodene 3-Way Ointment for Dogs is a treatment for superficial cuts and wounds, scrapes, bites, and skin irritations brought about by scratching or chewing. Its application prevents infections by providing a barrier between the skin and germs or other disease-causing organisms. It also provides relief from pain and hastens healing. The active ingredients are benzocaine and salicylic acid. It also contains botanical oils to help in skin rehabilitation.

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Sulfodene Brand 3-Way Ointment for Dogs
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Sulfodene Brand 3-Way Ointment for Dogs
  • First aid ointment helps...
  • Use on minor cuts and scrapes...
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  • Helps relieve topical...
  • For use on cuts, scrapes,...

If you’re concerned that your dogs would lick the ointment off and get sick, you may want to know that dogs would always try to lick their topical medications. Rest assured, though, that licking Sulfodene 3-Way Ointment for Dogs once or twice will not make them sick. They’d soon find out how awful the taste of this medication is, and that would stop them from further taking a nibble.

One good thing we know about this dog skin infection treatment is how well it relieves the itchiness or irritation and allows the skin to heal. Some dogs may need a cone or have to be watched to make sure they don’t mess with their medication, but it’s generally well-tolerated by dogs.

Active ingredients: benzocaine 1.5% and salicylic acid 1.6%
Other ingredients: Menthol, sorbitan monoleate, polysorbate 80, cajaput (melaluca lucadendron – tea tree oil), thyme oil, commint oil, clove oil, sodium edetate disodium, benzalkonium chloride, butylated hydroxytoluene, echinacea, emu oil in a beeswax/petrolatum base.

PROS:

  • Active ingredients are benzocaine and salicylic acid
  • Contains botanical oils to help in skin rehabilitation
  • Prevents infection and relieves pain
  • Promotes faster healing
CONS:

  • For use on superficial cuts and wounds to PREVENT infection, not to treat an infection that has already developed
  • Should not be consumed by the dog

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Best Dog Skin Infection Treatment (Over the Counter)

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