Although safe for humans, benzocaine can be hazardous to your dog. This local anesthetic deactivates the nerve endings in the skin, and is commonly used to relieve itching and pain from burns, insect bites, and cuts and scratches. If you think that benzocaine can relieve your dog's discomfort, consult your veterinarian for proper treatment and application directions.
Development of Methemoglobinemia
If your dog is profusely itching, you might think that a topical application of benzocaine might help. However, if his skin is broken, the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association states that it can trigger a condition known as methemoglobinemia. This is a form of anemia that can produce symptoms, such as depression, vomiting, rapid breathing, skin discoloration and facial swelling. A veterinarian can look for organ injury, and test your pet companion's blood to determine the severity of the condition. A blood transfusion, intravenous electrolytes and other treatments might be recommended. Although less severe, ingestion of benzocaine might also trigger small increases in methemoglobin content.