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Please Don’t Put Motor Oil on Your Dog

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golden retriever puppy dog on tree wood
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If you’re like most dog owners, you might turn to the internet when Fido gets an itchy rash. Unfortunately, you’ll probably find some dangerous information on treating the problem. On countless forums, you’ll find motor oil, gasoline, and kerosene touted as old-fashioned remedies for issues like mange and flea infestations.

Those petroleum-based skin treatments come with a host of dangers. Here’s a look at some reasons why you really, really shouldn’t put motor oil on your dog.

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The dangers of motor oil, gasoline, and kerosene

First off, these petroleum products can cause pain and irritate your dog’s skin further, especially if it’s already raw from scratching and biting. Aside from causing chemical burns, this can lead to your dog getting a bacterial skin infection from all of those open wounds. Worse yet, if your dog laps up the petroleum products on his fur, he could suffer from potentially fatal liver, kidney, and lung damage.

And although these petroleum products may be able to kill the adult mites, they won’t stop the infestation. They can’t kill the mite eggs embedded in the dog’s skin, so before long, your dog will be itching again.

What to do instead

First, take your dog to a veterinarian. You’ll likely receive a prescription for ivermectin, a medication given by mouth until the mites are gone. Your vet may need to take skin scrapings throughout the course of the treatment to monitor the mite infestation.

However, some herding breeds — including Collies, Australian Shepherds, and Shetland Sheepdogs — tend to suffer from ivermectin sensitivities. These dogs may benefit from professionally applied medicated shampoos and dips instead.

No matter which treatment is appropriate for your dog, always follow your vet’s instructions on dosing strength and frequency. Also, be sure to thoroughly treat your furniture, carpet, and your dog’s bedding, along with any other soft surfaces that could harbor the microscopic pests.

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Sources: Palm Beach Post, Pet MD, Pet Place, Pet Wave