It can be worrying when your dog gets hurt. Today, our New York vets will explain how to care for a dog's wound and what you can expect while it heals.
No matter how your dog lives, accidents happen, and they can get hurt with scratches, scrapes, cuts, or other injuries. Even small wounds can lead to bad infections.
So, if you're unsure whether to take your dog to the vet, it's best to be safe and talk to your vet. Taking your dog to the vet right after they gets hurt can save you money and prevent your dog from suffering.
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 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:
- Sterile bandages
- Clean towels or rags
- Self-adhesive bandages
- Soap or cleaning solution
- Spray bottle
- Antimicrobial ointment suitable for dogs
- Pet antiseptic solution (i.e., 2% chlorhexidine)
Giving Your Dog First Aid
To keep your dog safe from infections, it's important to address and clean any wounds they may have quickly. Before you begin providing first aid to your dog, having someone help you by holding your dog still and providing support is a good idea.
If you're unsure about what to do or whether you should take your dog to the vet, always prioritize caution when it comes to your pet's health.
When in doubt, contact your veterinarian or take your dog to an emergency animal hospital right away. Your furry friend's well-being should always be the top priority.
Muzzle Your Dog
If your dog is scared, anxious, or in pain, they might bite when you're trying to assist them. Our team suggests using a muzzle on your injured dog before giving them first aid. 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 ensure no objects or debris are 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 do it by gently swirling the injured paw in a bowl or bucket of warm water to remove first 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.
Avoid using strong cleaning products like hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol on your dog's skin, as they can be painful and may slow down the healing process.
Manage the Bleeding
If your dog has nothing stuck in its wound, apply pressure with a clean towel. 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.
You will have to monitor your dog's wound twice a day to make sure it is healing as it's supposed to and that it isn't becoming infected. Clean the wound with water or a pet-safe antiseptic solution twice a day, and contact your vet immediately if the wound becomes inflamed and shows signs of infection.
If you notice increasing redness, swelling, discharge, increasing pain in the area of the wound, or a foul 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.