Can You Use Betadine On Snakes?


If you’re a snake owner you’ve probably wondered if it’s okay to use betadine on your pet. After all betadine is a common household disinfectant that is used to clean wounds. So can you use betadine on snakes?

No. Betadine is not safe for use on snakes and can actually cause serious health problems. Here’s what you need to know about betadine and snakes.

What Is Betadine?

Betadine is a brand name for povidone-iodine a chemical compound that is used as an antiseptic. It is effective in killing bacteria viruses and fungi. Betadine is available in various forms including creams liquids sprays and swabs.

What Are The Risks Of Using Betadine On Snakes?

Betadine can be very toxic to snakes. When applied to the skin it can cause irritation and burns. Ingesting betadine can be even more harmful and can lead to liver and kidney damage or even death.

If you must use an antiseptic on your snake choose one that is safe for reptiles such as chlorhexidine.

What Are The Symptoms Of Betadine Toxicity In Snakes?

If your snake has been exposed to betadine watch for these signs of toxicity:

  • Burns or redness on the skin
  • Swelling
  • Blisters
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Jaundice

If you see any of these symptoms contact your veterinarian immediately.

How To Treat A Betadine Burn In A Snake

If your snake has a betadine burn it is important to seek veterinary care right away. In the meantime you can try to soothe the burn with a cool damp cloth. Do not use ice as this can further damage the skin.

If the burn is severe your snake may need to be hospitalized for treatment. The vet may prescribe antibiotics and pain medication. In some cases the snake may need to be fed through a tube until they are well enough to eat on their own.

Preventing Betadine Toxicity In Snakes

The best way to prevent betadine toxicity in snakes is to avoid using the product altogether. If you must use an antiseptic on your snake choose one that is safe for reptiles such as chlorhexidine.

As always be sure to follow the directions on the label and never use more than the recommended amount. If you have any questions about using a product on your snake always consult your veterinarian first.