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How to treat a boil on a dog

Updated November 21, 2016

Boils develop on dogs for different reasons. A bacterium on the skin finds its way into the pores of the skin, clogging them and developing the boils. Another reason is demodex canis, a parasite found in the hair follicles. Unless the boil is around your dog's anus, in its ears or by the eye, you can treat the boil at home. Home treatments require little more than a trip to your local pet store.

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  1. Apply a 1/2 tsp of goodwinol to the boil.

  2. Use your fingers to rub the ointment into the boil and surrounding skin.

  3. Repeat application once a day. Talk to your vet regarding duration of application. Depending on your dog's symptoms, treatment may vary from a couple of days to a couple of weeks.

  4. Soak a clean rag in warm water to create a compress. Do not make the water so hot it will scald your dog. If the water is too hot for you, it is too hot for the dog.

  5. Apply the compress to the boil for 5 to 10 minutes at a time. Hold it against the boil with firm pressure. During this time, soothe your dog by petting and talking to him.

  6. Repeat compresses once every six to eight hours to draw the pus to the surface of the boil. This helps the boil open itself and drain.

  7. Boil a cup of tap water in a small saucepan. Remove the pan from the heat.

  8. Mix in 10 drops of calendula and 10 drops of St. John's Wort. Stir to combine.

  9. Mix in 1/4 tsp iodised salt. Stir to dissolve.

  10. Fill a syringe with the salt mixture. Squirt the mixture into the open boil. This helps clean the boil and keeps it open.

  11. Apply a hot compress to the site two to three times a day. Reapply the salt mixture after each compress.

  12. Tip

    Place an Elizabethan collar on your dog when you discover a boil and after it opens to keep your dog from licking it. Find a collar at your local pet store or vet's office. Choose a cone that allows your dog to still eat and drink, but not lick the boil. When you rub goodwinol into your dog's fur, it breaks off hairs. This may cause the affected area to seem to grow. To encourage an open boil to heal once drainage has ended, apply a calendula ointment to the site.


    If the boil does not improve or additional boils develop, contact your veterinarian about further treatment options. Your vet may prescribe an oral antibiotic to treat the boil or a prescription shampoo to wash it.

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Things You'll Need

  • Goodwinol ointment
  • Rag
  • Small saucepan
  • Liquid calendula
  • Liquid St. John's wort
  • Iodised salt
  • Spoon
  • Syringe

About the Author

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