When dogs are in pain, doctors often prescribe lidocaine as a pain relief medicine, and it calms the dog by controlling the pain receptors.
Dogs get injured every time very easily, sometimes, there is just a scratch, and sometimes it is a lot more than that.
Many veterinarians use lidocaine as an anesthetic drug to numb the area where the dogs feel pain and discomfort.
But what if the dogs consume lidocaine or start licking the body part where it is applied?
Sometimes people ask what will happen if my dog licks a lidocaine patch and just carry it in their mouth but does not chew it. Will it cause any trouble?
In this article, you will find answers to all these questions and get to know what lidocaine is, its working process, and how harmful it is to dogs.
Just keep on reading.
Table of Content
What is Lidocaine?
Lidocaine is a professionally administered drug that is also known as Xylocaine. It is an anesthetic drug that is used in pets and dogs. It is mainly for treating heart diseases, cardiac arrhythmia, or abnormal heart rhythms.
Lidocaine is one of the oldest drugs administered in dogs; they are used since 1949 to medically help with any injuries, sunburns, animal bites, or any kind of pain in dogs.
Many veterinarians use this drug to numb the affected areas of injuries to reduce pain or before doing structures or stitches if a cut is there and needs treatment.
It is a local anesthetic drug, meaning it does not cause unconsciousness in dogs, and it is not found in medical stores very commonly; you can only find this drug in a vet’s clinic or need a veterinarian’s prescription to buy it.
Lidocaine comes in sprays, a transdermal patch, or in the form of injections for muscles, all of which have the same effect.
It is recommended not to use this drug on your pets on your own; always let a veterinarian or a medical professional administer this drug, as incorrect usage methods can cause fatal health problems in dogs within minutes.
How Does Lidocaine Work?
Lidocaine workin’ is very simplified as a drug that powerful should be. It works by preventing your nerve or heart cell membrane. It stops the sodium from entering the cells, which leads to blocking the message from cell to cell, preventing the feeling of pain.
It also minimizes the amount of contraction in the heart. A drug that controls or manages any nerve cell or causes an alteration of the heart rate should be administered only by a medical professional.
Lidocaine, if used in the form of an injection, should be administered in muscle and not intravenous until there is a very severe medical emergency, and a veterinarian should only take the call.
There is a separate doctor to administer this drug, and the anesthetic team observes the entire treatment if any major surgeries or sutures are going on. Dosage should be very precise, and even the slightest amount of overdosage can cause adverse effects.
Is Lidocaine Harmful to Dogs?
Lidocaine is often referred to as a sensitive drug that should only be used in severe medical conditions, as it can cause side effects in dogs, especially dogs with drug allergies, anxiety, and hypersensitivity.
If overdosed, it can cause severe damage to a dog’s body and their health. It should not be ingested or consumed as food or in any form.
This drug was originally introduced to treat humans, and as it showed a great effect, it was then transited to pets by evolving the drug and is now being used for cats and dogs worldwide.
This drug is not approved for animal use as mentioned by FDA (Food and Drug Administration), but it is now prescribed legally by many veterinarians as an extra-label drug to induce pain management in dogs in the form of cream or injections.
What Happens if a Dog Licks Lidocaine?
If your dog has been injured or has some stitches in their body, your dog will try to lick the part where the lidocaine patch is stuck, the applied cream, or the area where it was injected.
If they lick a little bit of lidocaine, chances are it won’t do any harm; depending on the weight and overall health of the dog, they will be just fine after that.
But do make sure there is no more licking around the drug. And then, notify your veterinarian about your dog’s mischief and ask for suggestions.
Your dogs may have some health complications after licking the drug, and if the licked amount is relatively large, the below health issues can occur.
Dogs vomit all the time, sometimes with reason and sometimes without it. Their natural defense mechanism is to vomit if they ingest anything stupid.
You may witness excessive or frequent vomiting after licking or ingesting lidocaine. If the vomits stop after one or two times, then observe the dog for at least 3 to 4 hours.
If the vomiting continues, contact a veterinarian immediately and ask for instructions; they will probably want to see the dog in an emergency. Without wasting time, rush to a vet as an overdose of lidocaine is fatal.
Another sign of lidocaine ingestion via licking or eating is diarrhea. Very similar to vomiting, the dogs try to excrete anything that is in their body, damaging the organs; instead of their mouth, they choose the back exit this time.
The chemicals in lidocaine might have triggered the function of the stomach, causing irregular pooping. Diarrhea should stop within a day of ingestion or licking, and if it doesn’t, call a vet asap.
As the drug is used for numbing the area of the pain in dogs, if licked or ingested in any form, lidocaine will cause a dog’s body to be lazy and numb.
You can see the difference in their walking, and as you may see, they are now having a loss of coordination. They may seem anxious and nervous as they won’t be able to know what triggered them to feel this way; hence caution is advised.
They may seem sleepy, but you should just let them stay in their bed or in a dark corner of the house, provide fresh water to them and let them rest. Call a veterinarian, inform them of the incident, and ask for advice.
Tips to Prevent Your Dog from Ingesting Lidocaine
After reading all the above details of lidocaine, we all know what the huge implications of the slightest dosage of lidocaine can do.
Even the slightest ingestion via licking the cream or injection can cause major health issues. It is essential to take preventive measures to prevent any unprescribed ingestion or incident pertaining to this.
Below are pointers that can be followed to prevent any such incidents.
1. Keep the Adhesive in Check
The lidocaine patches are made in a way that the patch is stuck in a place with a very strong adhesive. They generally do not get loose.
But as the dog’s sweat or the patch is in a joint-boned place like an elbow, it tends to lose; always keep an eye on that and make sure it is stuck, preventing it from licking.
2. Keep the Lidocaine out of the Dog’s Sight
It is important to keep lidocaine out of the dog’s sight, as we all know the favorite thing of dogs is to snoop around and eat anything they find weird.
While the patch seems wired and different to them, they may take it in their mouth to taste it once, causing a major health risk.
3. Get Rid of the Lidocaine Waste
It is very important to get rid of the used patches or empty cream tubes, or injection remains after usage. Cream tubes should not be left open as leakages can happen, and remains if they get in contact with dogs that can harm them vigorously.
Any medications are advised to be kept away, and the use or waste of any such medications should be taken care of.
Always get in contact with a veterinarian if you feel something is off, even on your intuitions; it’s better to be safe than sorry.
For local anesthetic drugs like lidocaine they start working in 10 to 15 minutes, and the duration of action is from 60 to 120 minutes, depending on the dog.
You can wash off lidocaine with soap and water. If you have got a lidocaine cream on your skin, consult a doctor to know the right procedure.
Lidocaine is used by many veterinarians and is considered safe and effective. However, it is known to cause issues for dogs having allergies or other health issues. Always consult a vet before administering a dose of lidocaine.
It is very important to keep dogs away from any medications as they are known to have a go at them. This article provides you with all the details there is to know about lidocaine and its usage on dogs.
Reading this article will help you understand the risks of administering lidocaine, what happens if a dog licks lidocaine, and how harmful it can be. Learn the steps for immediate action along with preventative measures.
Till then, take care of your furry partner and happy petting.
Dr. Lillian is a D.V.M. passionate about promoting awareness of dogs. She shares her expertise through her blogs on canineweekly.com and provides animal care services, including internal medicine, dermatology, and emergency care. Dr. Lillian is committed to contributing to animal welfare.