Is minoxidil dangerous for pets

While minoxidil is generally well tolerated by men and women alike with little to no side effects, it can be incredibly toxic to our pets such as cats and dogs.

That’s why we need to know just how dangerous it is for our pets and what precautions we can take to protect man’s best friend from the potential dangers. Let’s get started.


Is minoxidil harmful for pets?

Is minoxidil dangerous for pets?

Topical minoxidil is toxic for pets, while oral minoxidil enters the bloodstream and thus, is not as toxic or harmful to animals. Keep in mind though that even oral minoxidil can be toxic to pets because of the secretion of sweat, although the oral dose is a lot smaller than the topical dose of minoxidil. This means that oral minoxidil is most likely a bit less toxic to pets.

On a side note, a question that gets asked a lot is the following: “is rogaine dangerous for pets?” Yes, rogaine is harmful for pets as it is a brand of minoxidil. Thus, the above applies to rogaine and all other minoxidil brands as well.

For humans, however, minoxidil has no known negative effects on fertility or on their general health.

Is minoxidil toxic to dogs?

Image of a dog lying down.

Yes, minoxidil is toxic to dogs.

As a matter of fact, one of the studies examining toxicity in pets determined that they found the pharmacologic basis of the cardiovascular toxicity of minoxidil in dogs:

the cardiovascular toxicity of MNX in dogs is not caused by a direct toxic effect of MNX on the heart but apparently is related to the exaggerated pharmacologic/profound hemodynamic effects it elicits in the dog. [1]

Is minoxidil toxic to cats?

Image of a cat lying down.

Minoxidil is not only toxic to dogs, but it is also toxic to cats because they lack a specific enzyme to break down the chemicals present in minoxidil. That’s why one should be careful when applying topical minoxidil to him/herself and always make sure to wash their hands.

The following study determines the toxicosis in dogs and cats. 211 cats and dogs with topical minoxidil exposure were noted and consequently reviewed from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Animal Poison Control Center database.

87 cases with clinical signs of toxicosis (62 cats, 25 dogs), case narratives were evaluated and tagged for exposure-related circumstances. They concluded the following:

Clinical signs occurred in dogs and cats even with low exposure amounts, such as drops or licks.

In patients that developed clinical signs, most developed moderate or major illness (56.0% dogs, 59.7% cats).

Death occurred in 8/62 (12.9%) cats that developed clinical signs after the pet owner’s minoxidil use.

Pet owners should be educated on the risk of dog and cat toxicosis from accidental minoxidil exposure.[2]

The following study discusses the clinical presentation and necropsy findings of 2 cats after topical administration of a minoxidil solution. Both cases were identified from the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) file. They concluded the following:

Both cats were presented with lethargy and dyspnea within 36 hours of exposure.

The cats were hypothermic, and had pulmonary edema and pleural effusion present on thoracic radiography. Both cats died despite supportive care.

Necropsy of both cats confirmed pleural effusion and pulmonary edema and indicated cardiac compromise.[3]



Image of the green word 'toxic' written on a black background.

Minoxidil is harmful and dangerous for pets. Both dogs and cats alike. Yet, minoxidil is safe for women and men.

That is why everyone should carefully wash their hands after applying the topical minoxidil, because we frequently use our hands to pet our cat, dog or other pet.

Not only that, we also use our hands to put food in the bowl for our pet, so we must make sure no residual minoxidil liquid or foam remains on our hands.