If you have a dog, being ready for injuries and emergencies is vital. In this blog, our Exeter vets discuss standard dog wound care, what first aid items to keep on hand, and when to contact your vet in the event of an emergency.
Dog Injuries & Wounds
Whether your dog is young and full of energy or old and mostly rests, they can get injured. While you can handle some injuries at home, remember that even small wounds can become infected. While you can treat plenty of injuries at home, it is important to remember that sometimes, even the smallest wound has the risk of infection.
It's important to monitor injuries closely and seek veterinary attention when necessary. Taking your canine companion 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 in the long run.
When a Dog May Require Veterinary Care
Several wounds can be treated at home, but some need a vet's help. Wounds needing a vet's care include:
- 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
One of the easiest ways to ensure that you can manage a medical situation involving your dog is by having a well-stocked first aid kit always on hand. Below are a few things you should always have on hand in case your dog gets hurt.
- Soap or cleaning solution
- Pet antiseptic solution (i.e., 2% chlorhexidine)
- Antimicrobial ointment suitable for dogs
- Sterile bandages
- Self-adhesive bandages
- Bandage scissors
- Spray bottle
- Clean towels or rags
How To Care For Your Dog's Wound or Injury
When your dog gets hurt, it's important to clean the wound right away to prevent infection. Before beginning first aid on your dog, it is best to have someone to help you restain your pup and be generally supportive.
If you're not sure what to do or if your pet needs a vet, it's safer to be cautious. If in doubt, get in touch with your regular vet or an emergency vet as soon as possible.
It Is Recommended To Muzzle Your Dog
Muzzling your pet during medical care is a smart move. When animals are confused or hurting, they might sometimes react by snapping or biting. Getting your dog accustomed to wearing a muzzle before any accidents happen is wise. This way, your dog won't be scared of it if you ever need to use it.
Inspect The Wound For Embedded Objects
It is important to inspect the wound for any foreign object or lodged debris. 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 remove the object with tweezers easily, do so gently. If the object is lodged deeply, leave it and call your vet or an emergency animal hospital immediately.
Thoroughly Clean Your Dog's Wound
You can clean your dog's paw wound easily with water. Fill a bowl or bucket and gently swirl your dog's paw in it to remove dirt and 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 cleaners, hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, or any harsh cleaning products on your dog's skin, as these can be painful and slow down the healing process of the wound.
Utilize Pressure To Slow The Bleeding
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.
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 great for dogs with easily reachable wounds because they stop your dog from licking or biting the injury while it heals.
Continuing To Care For Your Dog's Wound
Keep a close eye on your puppy's injury by checking it twice daily. This will make sure it doesn't get infected and is healing as it should. Clean the wound gently using water or a pet-friendly antiseptic solution twice daily. If the wound starts to look red and infected, contact a vet at 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.