Not all cuts or scratches on your dog require a visit to the vet. However, it's important to know how to take care of your dog's wounds and when you should seek professional help. Our vets at Cumming have shared some helpful tips for taking care of your dog's wounds.
Dogs Have Accidents Too
Even calm dogs can get hurt and need first aid. Even small injuries can cause infections, so it's better to take your dog to the vet if you're not sure. Taking your dog to the vet right after an injury can prevent more pain for your dog and save you money in the future.
Wounds That Require Veterinary Care
While some dog injuries can be treated at home, certain wounds require immediate attention from a veterinarian. These types of wounds include:
- Animals bites (these may look small but become infected very quickly if not treated)
- Skin that has been torn away from the flesh below (often occurs during dog fights)
- A wound with a large object lodged in it (ie: a piece of glass or nail)
- Wounds caused by a car accident or other trauma
- Injuries around the eyes, head or that lead to breathing difficulties
Putting Together Your Canine First Aid Kit
It's a good idea to have a pet first aid kit and some basic knowledge in case your dog gets a small injury. Here are some things you should always have with you just in case.
- Soap or cleaning solution
- Pet antiseptic solution (ie: 2% chlorhexidine)
- Antimicrobial ointment for suitable for dogs
- Sterile bandages
- Self-adhesive bandages
- Bandage scissors
- Spray bottle
- Clean towels or rags
Providing First Aid to Your Pup
It's important to clean and take care of wounds quickly to prevent infections in dogs. It's best to have someone help you hold your dog and give you support before starting first aid. If you're not sure what to do or if your pet needs a vet, it's better to be safe than sorry and contact your vet or an emergency vet right away.
Place a Muzzle on Your Dog
If your dog is scared, anxious, or hurt, they may bite you while you're trying to help them. That's why we suggest putting a muzzle on your dog before starting any first aid treatment. It's a good idea to practice putting the muzzle on your dog before an injury occurs so that your dog is familiar with the process and how the muzzle feels. This will help avoid causing your dog any additional stress.
Check For Foreign Objects Lodged in The Wound
Check for any objects or debris that might be stuck in the wound, especially if it's on your dog's paw pad and they may have stepped on something sharp. If you can easily take out the object with tweezers, do it gently. But if it's deeply lodged, don't try to remove it yourself. Instead, immediately call your vet or an emergency animal hospital for help.
Clean your Dog's Wound
If your dog has a paw injury, you can clean it by swirling their paw around in a bowl of warm water to get rid of any dirt or debris. If the injury is on another part of your dog's body, you can gently pour clean water over the wound while your dog is in the sink, bath, or shower. You can add a bit of mild baby shampoo, dish soap, or hand soap to the water if you like. Avoid using harsh cleaners, hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, or any other strong products that could cause pain or slow down the healing process.
Control The Bleeding
If there is something not stuck in the wound, use a clean towel to apply pressure. Small wounds stop bleeding in a few minutes, but bigger ones may take longer. Bleeding should stop in 10 minutes if you apply pressure. If your dog keeps bleeding, contact your vet or emergency animal hospital immediately.
Bandage Your Dog's Wound
If you have antibacterial ointment, put a little on the wound before covering it with sterile gauze or a bandage. Don't use anything with hydrocortisone or other corticosteroids. Use a self-adhesive elastic bandage to keep the gauze in place.
Prevent Your Dog From Licking The Area
If your dog is licking its wound, you may need to make it wear an e-collar to prevent it from doing so.
It's important to check your puppy's wound twice a day to make sure it's healing properly and to prevent infection. You can clean the wound with water or a special pet antiseptic solution two times a day. If you see any signs of infection such as redness, swelling, discharge, pain, or a bad smell, contact your vet immediately.
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.