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Complete Guide To Dog Wound Care

If you are a dog owner, it's important always to be prepared for any unexpected situations, such as minor injuries like cuts or scrapes or any potential pet emergency that may occur. Our vets in Woburn have shared some helpful information on how to provide basic wound care for dogs, what first aid supplies to keep on hand, and when to contact your vet in case of an emergency.

Dog Injuries & Wounds

All dogs, whether young and active or old and sleepy, are at risk of injury. While minor injuries can be treated at home, it's important to remember that even small wounds can become infected. Therefore, it's crucial to monitor injuries carefully and seek veterinary attention when necessary. Taking your furry friend to the vet as soon as an injury occurs could prevent a lot of pain for your dog and save you a lot of money in the long run.

When a Dog May Require Veterinary Care

Different types of wounds can be treated at home, while others require veterinary attention. It's important to recognize when a wound needs professional care.

  • Animal bites (these may look small but become infected very, 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 (i.e., 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

What Items To Include In Your Dog First-Aid Kit

To make sure you are always prepared for a medical emergency involving your dog, it's important to have a well-stocked first aid kit on hand. To ensure that you are ready for any situation, here are some essential items you should always have in your kit in case your dog gets injured.

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

How To Care For Your Dog's Wound or Injury

It is important to clean a wound thoroughly as soon as possible after an injury to prevent infection. When administering first aid to your dog, it is best to have someone assist you in restraining your pet and providing general support.

If you are uncertain about what to do or if your pet needs veterinary care, remember that it is always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to your animal's health. If in doubt, contact your veterinarian or an emergency vet immediately.

It Is Recommended To Muzzle Your Dog

Muzzling during medical treatment is highly recommended as it can be common for animals that are confused and in pain to lash out during the process. 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 prevent the muzzle from being feared if there is ever a time that you will actually need to use it.

Inspect The Wound For Embedded Objects

It's crucial to thoroughly examine any wound to check for foreign objects or debris that may be stuck in it. This is particularly important if the wound is on your dog's paw pad because they might have stepped on something sharp. If you can easily remove the object with tweezers, do it slowly and gently. However, if the object is deeply embedded, do not attempt to remove it; instead, contact your veterinarian or an emergency animal hospital immediately.

Thoroughly Clean Your Dog's Wound

Wounds on your dog's paw can be easily cleaned by swirling your dog's paw in a bowl or bucket filled with water to remove any dirt or 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.

Utilize Pressure To Slow The Bleeding

If there is nothing stuck in the wound, use a clean towel to apply pressure. Small wounds typically stop bleeding within a couple of minutes, but larger wounds may take longer. You should expect the bleeding to stop within 10 minutes of applying pressure. If your dog is still bleeding after that time, it's important to contact your vet or emergency animal hospital immediately.

Wrap The Wound In a Clean Bandage

If you have antibacterial ointment on hand, you may want to apply a small amount to the area before covering the wound with a piece of sterile gauze or another bandage. Avoid using products that contain hydrocortisone or other corticosteroids. Self-adhesive elastic bandages are a great option to help hold the gauze in place. 

Do Not Allow Your Dog To Lick The Wound

E-collars are highly useful for dogs that have a wound in an easy-to-reach spot as they will help to prevent your dog from being able to lick or bite at it while it is healing.

Continuing To Care For Your Dog's Wound

You should monitor your pup's wound at least twice a day to ensure it is healing well and infection doesn't set in. Clean the wound with water or a pet-safe antiseptic solution twice a day. If you notice any signs of infection, such as increasing redness, swelling, discharge, increasing pain, or a bad odor coming from the wound, contact your vet immediately, as it may require emergency care.

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.

If your dog has a wound that needs veterinary care please get in touch with our vets at Woburn right away.

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