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Dog Wound Care: Complete Guide

Dog Wound Care: Complete Guide

It can be concerning when your dog is injured. Today, our Southborough vets discuss how you can care for a dog wound and what you can expect throughout the healing process.

Dog Wounds

Regardless of your dog's lifestyle, accidents leading to grazes, scrapes, cuts, or injuries can occur. Even seemingly minor wounds may lead to significant infections. Therefore, if you are uncertain about whether to seek veterinary care for your dog, it is advisable to exercise caution and get in touch with your veterinarian. Promptly taking your dog to the vet for immediate treatment of a wound can potentially save both money and alleviate your dog's discomfort.

Wounds in Dogs That Need Veterinary Care

Even though you can treat some dog wounds at home, there are also situations where a dog's wound needs to be addressed by a veterinarian as quickly as possible. Here is a list of wounds that require veterinary care:

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

First Aid Kit for Dogs

We recommend having a pet first aid kit and a little knowledge prepared just in case your dog gets a minor injury. Here is a list of some items you should have on hand so you can be ready if your dog gets hurt:

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

Giving Your Dog First Aid

To prevent infections, address and clean your dog's wound promptly. Prior to commencing canine first aid, seek assistance for restraining your dog and providing support.

If you're unsure about the appropriate actions or the necessity of a veterinary visit, exercise caution for your pet's well-being. When uncertain, contact your veterinarian or transport your dog to an emergency animal hospital promptly.

Muzzle Your Dog

A fearful, uneasy, or injured dog can exhibit aggression when receiving assistance. That's why our team suggests using a muzzle on an injured dog before administering first aid. It's advisable to train your dog to become accustomed to the muzzle and its sensation beforehand to minimize further distress for the dog.

Look for Foreign Objects Lodged in the Wound

Inspect the wound to make sure there aren't any objects or debris lodged in it. This is even more essential if the wound is on the pad of your dog's paw, as they could have stepped on a sharp object. If you can remove the item easily with tweezers, do it very gently. If it's deeply lodged, leave it alone and call your veterinarian immediately, or bring your dog to an emergency vet.

Clean Your Dog's Wound

If your dog has a wound on its paw, you can rinse the injured paw in a container of warm water to remove dirt and debris. If the wound is located elsewhere on your dog's body, place your dog in a sink, bath, or shower and gently let clean water flow over the wound.

You can consider adding a small amount of mild baby shampoo, dish soap, or hand soap to the water.

Avoid using strong cleaners or applying hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, or other harsh cleaning products to your dog's skin, as these may cause pain or delay the healing process.

Manage the Bleeding

If your dog has a wound without any foreign objects lodged, use a clean towel to apply pressure. Small wounds typically cease bleeding in a few minutes, but larger wounds may require more time. Bleeding should cease within 10 minutes of pressure application. If bleeding persists beyond this period, promptly reach out to your veterinarian or an emergency animal hospital.

Contain Your Dog's Wound

Do you have an antibacterial ointment handy? If so, apply a small bit to the wound before covering it with another bandage or piece of sterile gauze. Don't use products with hydrocortisone or other corticosteroids. You can use a self-adhesive elastic bandage to keep the gauze in its place.

Keep Your Dog From Licking the Wound

Is your dog trying to lick their wound? They might have to wear a cone or e-collar. 

Continuous Care

You should regularly observe your dog's wound two times each day to ensure it heals properly and avoids infection. Clean the wound using water or a pet-safe antiseptic solution twice daily, and promptly get in touch with your veterinarian if the wound exhibits signs of inflammation or infection.

If you observe escalating redness, swelling, discharge, heightened pain in the wound area, or an unpleasant odor from the wound, promptly contact your veterinarian.

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 experienced a wound that should be seen by a vet? Contact our Southborough vets to have your pup looked after.

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Southborough Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of your pets. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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