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Dog Wound Care: Complete Guide

Worry can creep in when your beloved canine companion sustains an injury. In this article, our veterinarians in Pittsboro will explore how to tend to a dog's wound and outline what you should anticipate during the healing journey.

Dog Wounds

No matter what kind of lifestyle your dog leads, accidents can still happen, leading to grazes, scrapes, cuts, or other injuries that require attention. Even seemingly minor wounds can potentially lead to serious infections. Therefore, if you're uncertain whether to take your dog to the vet, it's always best to err on the side of caution and get in touch with your veterinarian. Seeking prompt veterinary care for your dog's wounds can save you money and your dog from unnecessary pain.

Wounds in Dogs That Need Veterinary Care

While you can address certain dog wounds at home, veterinarians must promptly attend to specific situations where a dog sustains a wound. Below is a list of wounds necessitating 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

We recommend having a pet first aid kit and a little knowledge prepared 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:

  • 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

To prevent infections, promptly address and clean your dog's wound. Before initiating canine first aid, seek assistance in restraining and providing general support for your dog.

If you're uncertain about the necessary steps or whether to consult a vet, prioritize caution for your beloved pet's health. When in doubt, contact your veterinarian or take your dog to an emergency animal hospital without delay.

Muzzle Your Dog

A scared, anxious, or hurt dog might bite when you attempt to assist. That's why our team suggests you muzzle your injured dog before initiating first aid treatment. It's advisable to practice putting a muzzle on your dog before any injuries occur so that your dog becomes familiar with the procedure and the sensation of wearing a muzzle. This proactive approach can help avoid further distress for your dog.

Look for Foreign Objects Lodged in the Wound

Examine the wound carefully to ensure no objects or debris are trapped within it. This becomes especially crucial when dealing with a wound on your dog's paw pad, as they may have come into contact with a sharp object. If you can easily extract the item using tweezers, do so carefully. However, if it is deeply embedded, refrain from attempting to remove it yourself and promptly contact your veterinarian or take your dog to an emergency vet clinic.

Clean Your Dog's Wound

If your dog has a wound on its paw, take the injured paw and swish it around in a clean bowl or bucket of warm water to rinse out any dirt and debris. If the wound is located elsewhere on your dog's body, place your dog in a sink, bath, or shower and gently run clean water over the wound. You can also consider adding 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 potentially prolong the healing process of the wound.

Manage the Bleeding

If your dog has no foreign objects lodged in its wound, use a clean towel to apply pressure. Most minor wounds should cease bleeding within a couple of minutes, but larger wounds may require more time. You should expect bleeding to halt within 10 minutes of applying pressure. If your dog continues to bleed beyond this timeframe, promptly contact your veterinarian or the nearest emergency animal hospital.

Contain Your Dog's Wound

Do you currently possess antibacterial ointment? If you do, please administer a small amount to the wound, then secure it with either another bandage or a sterile gauze. Avoid using products containing hydrocortisone or other corticosteroids. You may use a self-adhesive elastic bandage to keep the gauze securely positioned.

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

You must actively monitor your dog's wound twice daily to ensure proper healing and prevent infection. Clean the wound twice daily using water or a pet-safe antiseptic solution. If you observe signs of inflammation or infection, contact your vet immediately.

Promptly contact your vet if you detect escalating redness, swelling, discharge, heightened pain in the wound area, or a foul odor emanating from the wound.

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 Pittsboro vets to have your pup looked after.

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Pittsboro Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Pittsboro companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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