While injuries happen and most will be small and easy to care for, but you should make sure that you know how to care for any potential injuries that could happen. Today our Somerset veterinary team offers advice on dog wound care at home and when you should bring your dog to see a vet.
Even Dogs Can Have Accidents
Even if you have a low-energy dog that isn't very active there is always the possibility of accidents happening. It is important to remember that even the wounds that appear small and not very serious can cause infections and potential complications so if you are in doubt about whether you should take your dog to the vet, it's always best to err on the side of caution. By bringing your dog 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.
When to Bring Your Dog in For Veterinary Care
Some wounds will be able to be treated in the comfort of your own home but there may be occasions where the injury or wound requires veterinary care as soon as possible. Wounds that require veterinary care include:
- Animals bites (these may look small but become infected very very quickly)
- 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)
- Wounds caused by a car accident or other trauma
- Injuries around the eyes, head or that lead to breathing difficulties
What to Include in Your Doggie First-aid Kit
Ensuring that you have a doggie first-aid kit stocked and on hand for when these accidents happen can help the situation be much more manageable than it would be without one. Below are a few things you should always have on hand in case your dog gets hurt.
- 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
How to Care for a Wound on Your Dog
The sooner that you care for a wound the lower the risk of a potential infection happening. Before beginning first aid on your dog, it is ideal to have a friend or family member on hand to help with anything you might needs while tending to your dog.
If you are unsure about what to do, or whether your pet needs veterinary care, 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.
Put a Muzzle on 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 pooch 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 pup's distress.
Be Sure to Remove Any Foreign Objects
Look for objects or debris that may be lodged in the wound. 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.
Clean the Wound & Surrounding Area
If your dog has suffered an injury on their paw then it may be easiest to clean their paw in a dish of soapy water by gently moving it around in the water until the debris is cleared from the skin. 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.
Slow the Bleeding Right Away
Provided that there is nothing stuck in the wound apply pressure using a clean towel. 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.
Ensure That You Keep the Wound Covered
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 other bandages. Avoid using products that contain hydrocortisone or other corticosteroids. Use a self-adhesive elastic bandage to hold the gauze in place.
Do Not Allow Your Dog to Lick the Wound
If your pooch is trying to lick the wound it may be necessary to have your dog wear an e-collar.
Continued Care While the Wound is Healing
You should take time twice a day to check on your dog's wound in order to ensure that there are no signs of infection and that theirwound is healing well. 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.