Can You Use Betadine On Cats?

What is Betadine?

Betadine (povidone-iodine) is an antiseptic microbicide used to prevent and treat skin infections and is capable of killing bacteria, mycobacteria, viruses, fungi, yeasts and protozoa.

Unlike many other common antiseptics, Betadine is safe to use on cats, is cheap and sold in most chemists and supermarkets without a prescription.


Betadine can be used to treat minor lacerations and abrasions. It is also used by veterinarians to prepare the skin before surgery and post-operatively to surgical incisions.


Betadine is for external use only, do not give by mouth or any other opening or apply to the eyes.

Side effects

All drugs and medical treatments can cause side effects, although rare.

  • Prolonged exposure to a wet solution may cause skin irritation.
  • Some cats may experience local sensitivity to Betadine, which can include rash, itching, redness, swelling and blisters.
  • Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening reaction to a substance; symptoms include wheezing, difficulty breathing or swallowing, swelling in the mouth, face, lips and tongue.

If redness, swelling, irritation or pain develop discontinue use and see a veterinarian.

How to use Betadine on cats

Only attempt to use antiseptics on minor wounds and scrapes.

  • Wash hands with soap and water for twenty seconds, dry with a clean towel.
  • If the wound is still bleeding, apply firm pressure with clean gauze or a sanitary pad until bleeding stops. It may take up to ten minutes for bleeding to stop.
  • Fill a syringe (minus the needle) with clean water and flush over the wound to remove debris. Always frush from the inside out.
  • Dilute Betadine to the colour of weak tea and apply to the wound with clean gauze or flush over the wound with a syringe or an eyedropper.

Can Betadine be used on all cats?

The manufacturer does not recommend the use of Betadine on pregnant or lactating women due to the small risk of the fetuses developing reversible hypothyroidism. There is no data for the use of Betadine on pregnant or lactating cats. If in doubt, speak to your veterinarian who can recommend a safe antiseptic.

Do not use on cats with an allergy to povidone or iodine.

What other antiseptics can I use on cats?

Most antiseptics safe for use on people are toxic to cats. Betadine and Chlorhexidine are the only products safe to use on cats. Do not use phenols (products which turn white in water such as Dettol), Savlon, Neosporin, hydrogen peroxide, tea tree or alcohol.

How to store Betadine

Store in the original container, out of the reach of children and under 25C.

When to see a veterinarian

  • Cuts which are longer than 1 inch
  • Lacerations with jagged edges
  • Wounds which contain debris (grit, glass etc)
  • Bleeding which has not stopped within ten minutes
  • Wounds caused by animal bites
  • Signs of allergy or anaphylaxis
  • Burns
  • If the cat is in obvious pain
  • Any which is not showing signs of healing within 24 hours
  • Cats who are resistant to home treatment

Julia Wilson is a cat expert with over 20 years of experience writing about a wide range of cat topics, with a special interest in cat health, welfare and preventative care.Julia lives in Sydney with her family, four cats and two dogs. She enjoys photography, gardening and running in her spare time.Full author bio Contact Julia