Any dog can accidentally get hurt, no matter their breed, age, size or lifestyle. It's important for owners to know what to do in these situations. Here, our Nashua vets offer a complete guide to dog wound care.
Any dog can accidentally get hurt, no matter their breed, age, size or lifestyle. It's important for owners to know what to do in these situations.
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 (ie: 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)
- Animals bites (these may look small but become infected very very quickly)
- Wounds caused by a car accident or other trauma
Giving Your Dog First Aid
To help prevent any infections, you should have your dog's wound addressed and cleaned as quickly as possible. Before starting your dog's first aid, you should have someone assist you in restraining your dog and be generally supportive.
If you don't know what to do, or if you should take your dog to the vet or not, keep in mind it's always best to be cautious when it comes to the health of your animal friend. When in doubt call your vet, or bring your dog to an emergency animal hospital immediately.
Muzzle Your Dog
A scared, anxious or hurt dog may bite while you are trying to help which is why our team recommends muzzling your hurt dog before beginning first aid treatment. It's 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 dog's distress.
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 so 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 the wound is on your dog's paw, you could swish the injured paw around in a clean bowl or bucket of warm water to help rinse out any dirt and debris. 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.
Do not use harsh cleaners or apply hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, or other caustic cleaning products to your dog’s skin as these can be painful or even cause the wound to take longer to heal.
Manage the Bleeding
If your dog doesn't have anything stuck in its wound, with a clean towel apply pressure. While most small wounds should stop bleeding within a couple of minutes, larger wounds will probably 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.
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.
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.