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How to Care for a Dog Wound : Complete Guide

When your dog gets injured, it can be worrisome. In this article, our Ketchum veterinarians will guide you through dog wound care and the healing process.

Dog Wounds

Accidents can happen to dogs regardless of their lifestyle. They might suffer from cuts, grazes, scrapes, or other injuries that require care. Even though some wounds may seem minor, they can lead to serious infections if not treated properly.

Therefore, if you're unsure whether to take your dog to the vet, it's always better to err on the side of caution and contact your veterinarian. Taking your dog to the vet immediately after a wound can save you a lot of money and your dog from a lot of pain.

Wounds in Dogs That Need Veterinary Care

Dog wounds can be treated at home, but there are also cases where a veterinarian's help is necessary.

Here are some types 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

It is advisable to have a pet first aid kit ready and some basic knowledge on how to handle minor injuries in case your dog gets hurt. To be well-prepared, you may want to have the following items available:

  • 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 (i.e.: 2% chlorhexidine)

Giving Your Dog First Aid

It is important to address and clean your dog's wound as soon as possible to prevent any infections. Before administering first aid, make sure to have someone assist you in restraining your dog and providing general support.

If you are unsure of what to do or whether to take your dog to the vet, always err on the side of caution when it comes to your furry friend's health. When in doubt, call your vet or take your dog to an emergency animal hospital immediately.

Muzzle Your Dog If Necessary

It's important to be cautious when helping a scared, anxious, or hurt dog, as they may bite. In some cases, our team may suggest using a muzzle on your dog before providing first aid. It's a good idea to practice putting on a muzzle beforehand so your dog is familiar with the process and feels more comfortable. This can help prevent your dog from becoming more distressed during an already stressful situation.

Look for Foreign Objects Lodged in the Wound

To properly care for your dog's wound, it's important to check if any foreign objects or debris are stuck in it. This is especially crucial if the wound is on your dog's paw pad, as they may have stepped on a sharp object. If you can easily remove the foreign item with tweezers, do so very gently. However, if it's deeply embedded, it's best to leave it alone and immediately contact your veterinarian or bring your dog to an emergency vet clinic.

Clean Your Dog's Wound

If your dog has a wound on their paw, you can rinse it with warm water by swishing the injured paw in a clean bowl or bucket of warm water. If the wound is located elsewhere on your dog's body, you can gently run clean water over it by placing your dog in a sink, bath, or shower. To aid in the cleaning process, you may add a small amount of mild baby shampoo, dish soap, or hand soap to the water.

Avoid using harsh cleaners or applying hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, or other caustic cleaning products to your dog's skin, as these can cause pain and even delay the healing process of the wound.

Manage the Bleeding

If your dog has a wound and no foreign object is stuck in it, use a clean towel to apply pressure. Most small wounds will stop bleeding within a few minutes, but larger ones may take longer. You should aim to stop the bleeding within 10 minutes of applying pressure. If your dog is still bleeding after this time, it is important to contact your vet or an emergency animal hospital immediately.

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

To ensure your dog's wound is healing properly and doesn't get infected, you must monitor it twice a day. Clean the wound with water or a pet-safe antiseptic solution twice daily. 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 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.

Has your dog experienced a wound that a vet should see? Contact our Ketchum vets to have your pup looked after.

New Patients Welcome

Sun Valley Animal Center is accepting new patients at our two convenient locations! Our vets are passionate about the health of our Valley's pets. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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