Major Uses

Povidone-iodine is a broad-spectrum, topical antiseptic and microbicide used to remove germs from the skin and from mucous membranes. It effectively kills both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria and viruses when used as directed. It is also useful against fungi and protozoa.

Povidone-iodine is primarily used to disinfect wounds, abrasions, and lacerations. It is non-stinging and non-staining and can be used at full-strength before applying a bandage. Povidone-iodine is for use on dogs, cats, horses, and other animals.

Common Precautions

Povidone-iodine does not typically cause side effects with proper use. If skin irritation, rashes, itching, or other symptoms occur, use of the product should be stopped and a veterinarian should be consulted.

It is not known if povidone-iodine is safe for use on pregnant or lactating animals. This product should not be used regularly on animals undergoing treatment with lithium or suffering from thyroid disease. Povidone-iodine is not for use on deep puncture wounds or serious burns. These require professional veterinary care. Additionally, this product is not for use on large areas of an animal's body or for more than one week.

It is not known if any other medications or products interact with povidone-iodine. To ensure safety, all medications and supplements currently being taken or used should be reported to a veterinarian before application of povidone-iodine.

Povidone-iodine should not be used in animals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to the drug. In humans, overdose of povidone-iodine can cause increased salivation, diarrhea, burning in the mouth or throat, eye irritation, pulmonary edema, metabolic acidosis, hypernatremia, kidney problems, and other symptoms. Any known or suspected overdose should be reported to a veterinarian right away.


Povidone-iodine should be stored at room temperature, away from excessive heat and freezing temperatures. This product should be kept in its original packaging, tightly closed, and out of the reach of children and animals.


Povidone-iodine is most commonly available in liquid form for external application directly to wound sites. This drug is not for internal use. Povidone-iodine can be applied full-strength to superficial cuts, insect bites, abrasions, and other wounds. The area should be fully covered with the product, but pooling should be avoided. Application of a bandage is permissible, if desired.

Doses may vary in different species, when the drug is given by a different route or concurrently with other medications, and with regards to a patient's age, breed, and health status. A veterinarian's dosing instructions and/or those printed on the medication label should be followed closely.

If an application of povidone-iodine is missed, it should be applied as soon as possible. If it is almost time for the next application, the missed application should be skipped and the regular dosing schedule should be resumed.

This information is for general reference only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of any condition of your pet. It's intended as a general reference, this information may not include all possible uses, precautions, directions, reactions (including allergic), drug interactions, or withdrawal times. Always consult your local veterinarian and have your pet examined for any advice concerning the diagnosis and treatment of your pet, including which products and doses are most appropriate. Any trademarks are the property of their respective owners. VetDepot is not a pharmacy. All prescription products are dispensed by our Pharmacy Partner. Article last updated 2/2014.