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Guide to Dog Wound Care

While it may not be necessary to visit the vet every time that your pet suffers from a cut, there may be times when extra care is needed. Today our Fine Animal Hospital vets provide advice on dog wound care and when you should seek veterinary care. 

Even Dogs Experience Injuries

While injuries may be more common with dogs that are more adventurous, it is still possible for even the calmest of dogs to experience cuts and scrapes. If your dog happens to suffer from any sort of injury it is important to examine the wound and provide care for it, as well as contact your vet in order to make an appointment to have your dog properly assessed. Taking your pooch to the vet for a wound as soon as it occurs could save your dog a lot of pain, and you a lot of money.

What Types of Wounds Require Veterinary Care?

While there are some dog wounds that are manageable at home, there are other instances in which your dog will require veterinary care. Wounds that require veterinary care include:

  • Animals bites (these may look small but become infected very very quickly)
  • Skin torn from the flesh (often occurs during dog fights)
  • A wound with a large object lodged in it (ie: a piece of glass)
  • Wounds caused by a car accident or other trauma
  • Injuries around the eyes, head or that lead to breathing difficulties

What should I Include in a Dog First Aid Kit?

If you have a pet it could make a critical difference in urgent situations if you have a stocked first aid kit as well as knowing how to provide basic care for your dog. Below are a few things you should always have on hand in case your dog gets hurt.

  • Muzzle 
  • Soap or cleaning solution
  • Pet antiseptic solution (ie: 2% chlorhexidine)
  • Antimicrobial ointment for suitable for dogs
  • Sterile bandages
  • Self-adhesive bandages
  • Bandage scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Spray bottle
  • Clean towels or rags

How to Provide First Aid to your Dog

In order to avoid infections, it is important to sterilize and dress would as soon as they are injured. It is very important for the safety of yourself and your dog that you have someone help you calm and restrain and calm your dog prior to performing first aid on the dog.

If you are ever unsure about whether or not your dog needs veterinary care or not it is always best to not take any chances, remember that when it comes to your animal's health it is always better to err on the side of caution. When in doubt contact your vet, or an emergency vet immediately.

Stay Safe by Muzzling

When dogs are in pain they may react aggressively toward anyone that may try to help them. For this reason, it is a good idea to practice putting a muzzle on your dog before an injury arises so that your dog is used to the process and how the muzzle feels. This will help to prevent adding to your pup's distress. 

Examine the Wound for Foreign Objects

Your dog may experience injuries that result in a foreign object being lodged into their body, it is important to examine closely in case this has occurred. This is especially important if the wound is on your dog's paw pad and they may have stepped on something sharp. If you are able to easily remove the object with tweezers, do so gently. If the object is lodged deeply, leave it and call your veterinarian, or an emergency vet immediately.

Sterilize the Wound

Sterilizing the wound is a critical step in first aid as dirt and debris in the wound increases the chance of infection. The easiest way to clean your dog's paws is by using a bucket of warm water and swishing your dog's paw around in it in order to remove any dirt and debris that may be in the wound. If the wound is elsewhere on your dog's body you can place your dog in a sink, bath, or shower and gently run clean water over the wound. You may want to add a small amount of mild baby shampoo, dish soap or hand soap to the water.

It is important that you do not ever use harsh cleaners or apply hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, or other caustic cleaning products to your dog’s skin as these will not be beneficial to the cleaning process and may in fact cause further damage to your dogs wound.

Slow the Bleeding

The easiest way to slow the bleeding is by using a clean towel and holding it against the wound using moderate pressure. While most small wounds will stop bleeding within a couple of minutes, larger wounds are likely to take longer. Bleeding should stop within 10 minutes of applying pressure. If your dog is still bleeding after that time, contact your vet or emergency animal hospital right away.

Cover the Wound

Before bandaging it may be a good idea to apply a small amount of an antibacterial ointment to the wound. Be sure to avoid using products that contain hydrocortisone or other corticosteroids. Use a self-adhesive elastic bandage to hold the gauze in place. 

Ensure Your Dog Cannot Lick the Wound

An Elizabethan Collar (or E Collar) may be a good idea for any dogs that might have a habit of licking and be unable to allow the wound to heal properly.

Ongoing Care

You should be sure to monitor your dog's wound at least twice a day to ensure that there is no infection and that it stays clean. Clean the wound with water or a pet-safe antiseptic solution twice a day, contact your vet immediately if the wound become inflamed and shows signs of infection.

If you notice increasing redness, swelling, discharge, increasing pain in the area of the wound or a bad odor coming from the wound, contact your vet right away.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Has your dog recently suffered a wound that you feel might require veterinary attention? Contact our Bedford vets to have your pet examined. 

We're accepting new patients! Book your pet's first appointment today.

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