Can I Give My Dog Vicks Vaporub

Can I Give My Dog Vicks Vaporub?

Last Updated: August 18, 2023
correct answerThe Short Answer is:

Dogs are poisoned by Vicks Vaporub. Vicks’ main ingredient, camphor, is one of the most toxic things to dogs (and cats). The most common way for dogs to be poisoned by camphor is if we apply Vicks or a similar product to ourselves and our pet inadvertently licks the same area, then it can become a serious issue.

The purpose of this article is to explain the “Can I Give My Dog Vicks Vaporub?“.

How many times have you heard about pet owners using camphor products like Vicks Vaporub to train their pets or to keep them from digging or chewing?

Can I Give My Dog Vicks Vaporub

Quite a few pet parents use Vicks Vaporub specifically for this purpose particularly if they have a dog that digs or nibbles on furniture constantly. 

Vicks Vaporub has both pros and cons to use as a dog-proofing agent.

Heres why most vets and dog experts do not recommend using this commonly used cold-curing menthol ointment or even exposing your dogs to it.

What are the main ingredients in Vicks Vaporub?

Vicks Vaporub is a topical ointment made from camphor and menthol that helps relieve a variety of non-serious ailments such as colds and clogged noses coughs and minor joint pains and muscle aches.

Vicks is by far the most popular and accessible product like Tiger Balm and Efficascent Oil but there are many similar products. 

Vicks Vaporub contains camphor eucalyptus oil and menthol as its main ingredients. Other minor ingredients include cedar leaf oil nutmeg oil petroleum thymol and turpentine oil.

All of these ingredients are perfectly safe for humans to apply an ointment but the real question is is Vicks Vaporub safe for dogs?

Are They Harmful to Dogs?

Dogs are poisoned by Vicks Vaporub. Vicks’ main ingredient camphor is one of the most toxic things to dogs (and cats).

The most common way for dogs to be poisoned by camphor is if we apply Vicks or a similar product to ourselves and our pet inadvertently licks the same area then it can become a serious issue.

At least a phone call to the vet or a trip to the vet is warranted.

Vicks is listed as mild to moderately toxic for dogs but camphors effects on our pets are more than enough to raise some concerns.

Signs and symptoms of camphor poisoning include local skin irritation weakness nausea vomiting diarrhea seizures and even death on rare occasions.

Is Vicks Bad for Dogs to Inhale?

The inhalation of camphor can be harmful to your dogs and can affect their respiratory system. The good news is that dogs will immediately recognize the smell and find it repellent.

When they smell the menthol scent of Vicks Vaporub they’re going to back off immediately probably sneezing in the process. The smell of this substance is obnoxious to dogs.

Can I Put Vicks on My Dogs for Fleas?

Dogs cannot be treated with Vicks for fleas. The topical application of Vicks (as well as ingestion and inhalation) can be toxic to your dogs. 

There is confusion here because Vicks contains eucalyptus oil an ingredient that is often found in natural dog flea collars.

Despite the fact that eucalyptus oil is safe for dogs and is recommended by many experts as flea treatment Vicks’ high camphor content renders it highly toxic to them. 

When you give your dogs Vicks you run the risk of a number of potential side effects including but not limited to skin irritation vomiting and seizures. 

For dog flea removal you can use essential oils such as eucalyptus oil (without camphor) tea tree oil lavender oil or rose geranium oil.

Putting a few drops of these oils on a rope collar or dog bandanna can help keep fleas (and mosquitoes) away.

Can I Use Vicks To Stop My Dog from Chewing?

Most pet parents use Vicks Vaporub to prevent their pets from chewing by applying the ointment to all the usual places – table and chair legs and furniture edges. Vicks is sometimes placed on rocks in gardens to discourage dogs from digging. Are pets safe when exposed to Vicks?

It is probably the most controversial and divisive question in the dog community whether or not to use Vicks for correcting your pets bad behavior. It is true that dogs (and cats) do not like the smell of Vicks and other camphor-based products. If you apply menthol ointment to objects and areas in your home they will probably stay as far away as possible from them. Even so accidents can still happen.

Inhaling too many Vicks fumes can cause poisoning symptoms in your dog so imagine the consequences if your dog ingests the ointment. 

There is a chewing phase for most dogs especially as they grow. During the toddler stage puppies will experience teething and an intense need to chew to relieve the itching from the new teeth. In most cases however dogs grow out of it and the best solution is to simply get a safe chew toy for your pet.

Your dogs chewing obsession may indicate a behavioral problem if it persists beyond puppyhood. You should consult your veterinarian for recommendations or consider attending a dog training class.

Can I Use Vicks In My Humidifier For My Dog?

Definitely not. Dogs not only dislike the smell of camphor-based products (which will probably drive them from the room) but inhaling camphor from a humidifier can also be very harmful to them. For dogs with sensitive dry eyes it can be very irritating causing them to experience burning.

Vicks humidifiers may be very good for unclogging noses in people but it is definitely something that your dog can enjoy as well.

Can I Put Vicks On My Male Dog’s Nose to Stop Him from Smelling Females in Heat?

Breeders sometimes recommend using Vicks Vaporub on the hindquarters of female dogs in heat to prevent male dogs from detecting their scent but this practice has inherent dangers.

Are you aware that Vicks Vaporub is not recommended for children under two years old? It is often necessary for pediatricians to remind parents to avoid using menthol ointment on young children especially infants. Vicks has been found to cause acute respiratory distress in some babies when it is applied directly to the nose. Under two-year-olds with undeveloped lungs can experience severe mucus production and inflammation due to the ointment.

When you consider that Vicks can be dangerous for young children imagine how sensitive dogs’ noses and respiratory systems are compared to humans and you will understand how even the smell of Vicks can be dangerous. You should also keep in mind that dogs can suffer from subtle symptoms such as weakness and nausea that can result from camphor poisoning so you might not realize you’re doing your dog any harm by exposing him to Vicks.

What Should I Do If My Dog Eats Vicks?

Camphor-laced products are rare for dogs to consume but there is always the chance that your dog will be curious enough to give it a lick or even to consume the entire bottle. Immediately take your pet to the nearest veterinary clinic if you see your dog eating menthol ointment. 

Vicks or any other menthol product containing camphor must be taken care of immediately in case of ingestion. When a dog consumes this toxic product its absorption rate is very high and it is even higher when it is absorbed through its skin. Depending on the severity of the signs of distress your vet may ask you to keep your pet overnight for observation and care or may provide medication and ask you to monitor from home. 

Despite the fact that immediate treatment can prevent serious health issues from developing the recovery period of your dog could take a couple of days or even weeks. Depending on the severity of your dogs condition you may put him on a special diet and have him continue taking medication. If you and your dog need a second checkup to be sure that your beloved pet is doing well you will probably be asked to return.


The main point of this article is that we should never underestimate the danger Vicks and other camphor-based products pose to our dogs (and cats). We should keep items like Vicks Vaporub away from our dogs in places where there is no chance of them grabbing it or eating it just as we keep dangerous items away from children. 

In addition keep in mind that not only is Vicks highly toxic to our pets but their absorption rate for the product is also very high. Our recommendation is that if you’re considering Vicks Vaporub for your dogs problem you consider other options that are safer and non-poisonous.

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Amanda Dogs Trainer

Amanda (Author)

With over a decade of experience, Amanda is a distinguished dog trainer. Her expertise in canine behavior has transformed countless lives, fostering harmonious human-canine connections. Through compassionate and personalized approaches, she empowers owners to understand and connect with their furry companions, creating a legacy of joyful tails and transformed lives.

Osvaldo Maciel Dogs Trainer

Osvaldo Maciel (Content Reviewer)

Osvaldo Maciel, a stalwart in the field with 14 years of experience, is a revered dog trainer. His journey is defined by a profound understanding of canine behavior, shaping unbreakable human-canine bonds. Osvaldo guides owners to connect with their beloved pets, leaving an indelible mark of happiness and transformation. His legacy shines through the countless lives he has touched.

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