No sooner have you sprayed Blu Kote on your dog’s raccoon fight wound that he immediately, and enthusiastically, licks it all off.
Exasperated, you wonder to yourself,
“What happens if my dog licks Blu Kote?!
Other than a purple tongue, your dog will likely experience significant discomfort in its mouth, throat, and stomach. The isopropyl alcohol contained within in particular has caustic qualities that may irritate the linings of the gastrointestinal tract.
However, Blu Kote is non-toxic overall, and dogs will be able to make a full recovery from its nasty effects if properly treated.
The recovery process involves diluting the corrosive contents within the stomach as quickly as possible, and then providing appropriately soft foods over the following days. To prevent a similar incident from recurring in the future, make sure to use an E-collar next time!
Blu Kote is designed to be used in dogs and other animals such as chickens, horses, and guinea pigs to treat bacterial and fungal infections, cuts, sores, and surface wounds. It has germicidal and fungicidal properties as a healing aid and can also be used to kill ringworms.
The official Dr. Naylor Blu Kote website describes the solution in their own words as:
“A FAST-DRYING ANTISEPTIC WOUND DRESSING FOR HORSES AND DOGS EFFECTIVE AGAINST PUS-PRODUCING BACTERIA, COMMON FUNGUS INFECTIONS AND RINGWORM. DESIGNED FOR SURFACE WOUNDS AND ABRASIONS.”
Its active ingredients are listed as:
- Sodium propionate (Used as a preservative to prevent growth of mold and bacteria)
- Gentian violet (An antiseptic dye)
- Acriflavine (Topical antiseptic- can be irritating to eyes and skin)
- Urea (Used to treat rough and dry skin conditions)
- Glycerine (Non-toxic compound that has antimicrobial and antiviral properties); and
- Isopropyl alcohol (32% by volume, used as rubbing-alcohol antiseptic).
It is more suitable for use in surface and shallow wounds rather than deep cuts, puncture wounds or serious burns. Only a light layer of Blu Kote needs to be applied each time, and it can be continually used until healing commences.
The first thing that you will notice if your dog has licked Blu Kote is a very distinctively purple tongue. Blu Kote has potent staining properties, courtesy of the gentian violet contained within, and will most likely paint the tongue an eye-catching, violet shade.
Don’t worry- this is only temporary and will come out after a few days of rinsing with water. Your best friend isn’t doomed to look like Dino from The Flintstones forever.
Besides gentian violet, Blu Kote also contains a high percentage of isopropyl alcohol, sodium propionate, acriflavine, and urea. All of the ingredients are supposed to taste disgusting, but apparently not disgusting enough to stop your dog from having a thorough taste.
Isopropyl alcohol is the biggest concern here, since it is a neurotoxic substance in large quantities. If ingested, it can cause loss of balance and coordination, behavioral changes, loss of central nervous system capacity, liver damage, coma, and eventual death.
Luckily, the amount that your dog swallowed was likely not enough to give your pup anything more than oral and digestive tract irritation, as well as a horrific aftertaste in its mouth.
Blu Kote is noted in its Safety Data Sheet as being intended for external use only, and that ingestion could cause gastrointestinal discomfort. While this warning was meant for human beings, it applies equally to canines too.
While non-toxic, the caustic effects of Blu Kote won’t react very well with the inside of a dog’s mouth and will result in a lot of salivation and drooling, as well as some coughing. Your dog is probably going to have some pretty horrid breath too.
Since the substance is irritating to the GI tract as well, your dog may experience vomiting, stomach pain, and loss of appetite- causing it to become significantly lethargic and depressed-looking as a result.
Since Blu Kote is non-toxic unless ingested in large quantities (which is unlikely if your dog simply licked some off its body), there’s no specific antidote per se to counter the negative aftereffects.
The focus instead falls on firstly trying to dilute the isopropyl alcohol in the mouth and stomach as much as possible to reduce discomfort. In order to get the product and taste out of your dog’s mouth quickly, flush it with fresh, cool water continuously for up to 10 minutes.
This should remove all residue, and stop your dog from salivating excessively.
Reducing stomach irritation can be achieved by giving your dog liquids such as milk, cream, and chicken and bone broths. However, these must be given as soon as practicable, since alcohols are absorbed fully from the gastrointestinal tract anywhere within 30 minutes to 2 hours.
Pepcid AC (famotidine) can also be given at a dosage of 0.25mg per pound of body weight every 12 hours, 20 minutes before any food, to help settle your dog’s stomach and to dilute the Blu Kote that was swallowed.
Do NOT at any point attempt to induce vomiting to get your dog to throw up the Blu Kote, as the caustic properties of the substance will burn and damage the esophagus on the way up. It will also create the risk of aspiration pneumonia, which can be fatal.
Over the next couple of days, it would be a good idea to feed your dog a diet of bland, soft foods. This will allow the inflamed GI tract the opportunity to heal, as regular, harder food such as kibble may be difficult to digest and will slow down the recovery process.
Foods that are suitable for recovery include:
- Canned dog food
- Lean protein (fish, poultry, beef)
- Boiled white rice
- Cottage cheese
- Scrambled eggs
As long as your dog has the appetite to eat and drink normally, it should recover fully in a few days. Of course, if your dog has any underlying medical conditions or health issues, you should still consult with your vet to make sure that everything will be ok.
In order to prevent your dog licking their dressings again in the future, make sure that you use a product like an E-collar (the infamous cone of shame) to limit its range of movement when the substance has been applied.
If your dog somehow had itself a mouthful of Blu Kote, the worst that it will likely experience are symptoms of mouth, throat and stomach irritation. These symptoms can include excessive salivation, hacking cough, vomiting, stomach pain, nausea, loss of appetite, and lethargy.
However, unless it ate a whole aerosol canister’s worth of the product, it probably won’t do any serious lasting harm. While you may have to deal with seriously bad breath for the time being, your dog should be able to make a full recovery in a matter of days.
Make sure that you dilute the corrosive properties of the substance as soon as you discover your pup licking the dressing. You can do this by giving it milk, chicken broth or cream.
Follow that with a few days of soft foods like yoghurt and white rice, and your dog will be back to normal- pink tongue and all- before you know it!