Is zinc oxide toxic for dogs?

dog in ER after intoxication with zinc oxide

 Is zinc oxide toxic for dogs?

 Zinc oxide is toxic only if ingested. Zinc oxide is a mineral mostly used in sunscreens. Think of it as millions of little mirrors to reflect the sun rays off your skin. Zinc, whether it is ingested by dogs, babies or humans, is toxic. Vets agree that a penny would be enough zinc to kill a dog.

Symptoms of Zinc Poisoning 

  • Early on, your pet may start vomiting and seem lethargic (low energy).  
  • Within a few hours or days, you may see diarrhea, depression, pale or yellow gums (jaundice), dehydration, orange-tinged feces or urine, and/or yellowing of the skin and eyes.
  • If zinc poisoning is not treated, it can cause a life-threatening anemia, seizures, kidney and liver damage, heart problems, and even death.

My dog ate a zinc pill

The first thing to do if you suspect your dog ate a zinc pill, a cream containing zinc, or a penny is to call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline (800-213-6680) immediately!

Do not induce vomiting or give your pet anything to eat or drink unless specifically instructed to do so.

Following the instructions from the call, you will want to take an appointment at the clinic as soon as possible. There are many ways your vet may treat zinc poisoning, but it is crucial to let the vet do it as you might worsen the problem.


Your pet will most likely be fine after treatment. But the outcome all depends on how long your dog has swallowed zinc for. 

"It’s less dangerous to your pet and less expensive for you to treat symptoms early."

Related Sunscreen Questions

What do you do if your dog gets sunburned?

Whether you dog has long hair or short hair, sometimes the sun can cause sunburns on your dog. Because you dog's skin is rarely exposed to sun, you want to treat sunburns properly.

Should your dog wear sunscreen?

Maybe your dog doesn't need sunscreen in the first place! It depends on multiple factors such as the coat, its color, its habits, etc. 

Can I use baby sunscreen on my dog?

For some dogs, sunscreen is necessary or at least some kind of sun protection. But is baby sunscreen what's recommended in such cases?





Pamela Huyck, Zinc Poisoning (Toxicity) in PetsAssociate Director of Veterinary Services, Pet Poison Helpline.

Croteau, Dybowska, Luoma, Valsami-jones, Nanotoxicology, Toxic Substances Research Program of the U.S. Geological Survey.

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