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Rogain toxic to dogs?

Species: Dog
Breed: Chihuahua mix
Age: 6-12 months

Thank you for taking the time to read and answer my question.

I have an eleven-month-old chihuahua mix and just wanted to know if I should be worried about her ingesting minoxidil a.k.a. Rogaine foam. She isn't licking up puddles of the stuff or biting at the can but she does like to lick my face all the time. The foam tends to melt and drip down to my ears and sideburns so I freak out when she licks those areas. To be perfectly candid, I also used to rub some on my upper lip as well to try and grow a thicker mustache. It was a stupid experiment, I know. I did that a few times but then stopped. I'm always hyper vigilant about washing my hands and waiting for all the alcohol from the foam to evaporate before I touch her but I can't always be on my game. I'm also worried that some gets on my pillow and she might lick the minoxidil off the case. I know that this medication is a vasodilator and can lower her blood pressure to dangerous levels. When she licks me, at least 4-5 hours have passed since application.

I understand that it's extremely dangerous to cats but can't find anything on dogs. Should I be worried? She's still really spry, eats/drinks regularly, and has solid stools.

Of course, I would like to continue my regimen but not at the expense of my puppy.
Any help with this would be greatly appreciated!

Best regards,

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

I have to say that this is the first time I've been asked if Rogaine is toxic to dogs! I had to do some research for you.

It's definitely not recommended to use Rogaine directly on a dog as this can be very toxic to the heart. But, of course, that's not your question. The question was whether your dog could actually ingest some Rogaine by licking you and whether that would be dangerous to her.

I don't know if anyone knows how long it takes for Rogaine to be fully absorbed. I did read of one case of a cat that got very sick after licking its owner's head immediately after the Rogain was applied. However, Rogaine seems to be even more toxic in cats than dogs. And, again, this was immediately after it was applied so none would have been absorbed.

This study looked at how toxic Minoxidil (Rogaine) was to dogs but the dogs ingested a fairly large amount.

I couldn't find in the literature any cases of a dog who got sick from licking the product off of their owner. My gut instinct says that as long as you are not letting her do this immediately after you apply it that you'll be ok. It's extremely unlikely that it would be toxic from your pillow. I think that if this was the case, then with the millions of people who use the product, we would be seeing cases of dogs who were getting sick.

Still, I have a couple of thoughts for you. The first would be to call the number on the Rogaine packaging and ask if you can speak to a technician with these questions. Sometimes drug companies will be very forthcoming in answering questions like this.

The second would be to have your vet measure her blood pressure a few times over the week. If they are noticing low blood pressure then I would be concerned. The difficulty with this is that just going into the vet's office can cause blood pressure to go up. But, really if the drug is affecting her to the point that we are concerned about her blood pressure I would think you should be able to stills see signs of hypotension (low blood pressure) at the vet visit.

Hope that helps. If you do get anything interesting back from calling the company, please respond and let me know.

Dr. Marie.

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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Hi Dr. Marie,

Thank you so much for getting back to me so quickly with a response! I really appreciate your feedback and will let you know if I find anything else out about dogs ingesting rogaine.

I do have one more question for you. If I need to pay an additional $8, please let me know. I know a lot of time and research goes into your answers so I wouldn't want to take advantage of you.

Basically, three weeks ago, I took my puppy to an emergency vet because my girlfriend and I were worried that she had an ear infection. Thankfully, she did not. But I figured since we were already there, I'd ask about luxating patellas seeing as to how smaller breeds tend to have this ailment. Well, the vet did his check and said that she did have semi-loose kneecaps but luxating patella wasn't a concern at this stage.

A week or two after that, we purchased new insurance for our puppy but the insurance company required a knee check as a baseline for our policy. So we took our puppy to our own vet who also said our puppy did not have a luxating patella.

Yesterday, I took my puppy to the dog park and thought I saw her lift up her back right leg while running but it didn't happen again so I paid no attention. Today, however, I took her to the dog park and as she ran full speed to catch a ball, her back right leg seized up. It was normal when she slowed down but this seizing happened 4-5x today, all while she ran full speed. It doesn't happen when she walks or when she jumps on to my bed.

Yesterday, while I was driving, she stood in the center arm rest and fell as I made a turn. I'm wondering if this has anything to do with her limping? She ran up and down the stairs at my house today after the dog park without incident but when I threw a ball, her back right leg seized again.

I've seen two vets on two separate occasions from two different pet hospitals and they both said she did not have a luxating patella so why is her leg seizing up? The paperwork for the baseline hasn't been cleared yet so I can't submit a claim or they'll reject her policy.

Does this sound really serious? Is she suffering? I don't want her to be in pain at all. She's only 11 months so I don't know what's causing this.

Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thank you for your time!

Best regards,
Andrew C.

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

This is a tough question to answer. Luxating patella is just one of many things that can cause limping in a little dog. Fortunately, the most common reason for a puppy to have sudden limping when playing is just muscle soreness or bruising. Most of the time this type of issue goes away on its own within a few hours and some rest.

If she keeps it up for more than 24 hours or if you feel that she is really uncomfortable then it's best to have your vet check her again.

Hope it's nothing serious!

Dr. Marie

Customer reply:

Hi Dr. Marie,

Thanks for such a prompt reply!

I have one last question for you, I promise!

What is your take on giving my 11-month-old chihuahua mix a glucosamine supplement? Rarely, when she gets in down position, I hear clicking noises. I don't know if this is just growing pains or if she's just sleeping wrong, but it worries me.

Would giving her a daily glucosamine help at all? Is it safe?

As always, thank you so much for your time!

Andrew C.

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

There really aren't any studies that I am aware of that show that glucosamine is helpful. I have had some patients for whom glucosamine tends to help, but it's not something that I really push. It's safe to give, but in my opinion, probably won't do a whole lot.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.