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Dog Wound Care: How to Treat Them

Dog Wound Care: How to Treat Them | BetterVet

Most dog owners know that canines are naturally curious. While this is a sign of a happy and healthy pet, it can sometimes lead to accidents around the home. Like people, dogs are prone to cuts and wounds while running and playing. Despite your best efforts to keep your dog safe, it might experience a minor cut or wound around the house.

All dog parents must know how to respond and care for their dog in the event of an injury. Have you ever found yourself panicked when your furry friend has been wounded? If so, prepare for next time with these helpful tips to treat wounds in dogs.

Before Treatment for a Dog Cut

If a cut is actively bleeding, you must first attempt to get the bleeding to stop. To do this, grab a small piece of gauze from your pet's first aid kit. A small towel will also do the trick if you don't have a first-aid kit. Using gauze or a towel, gently apply pressure on the wound or cut to help slow the bleeding.

After applying pressure for a few minutes, the cut or wound should begin clotting and stop bleeding. Treating your pet's cut as soon as you notice it is essential, as this will help reduce the risk of infection.

Open Wounds on Dogs

Open wounds on dogs are not the same as minor scratches or scrapes. An open wound is a deep wound that thoroughly penetrates the skin. If your dog's wound is visibly deep, seek veterinary care promptly. Open wounds are more susceptible to infection, so a professional veterinary doctor must see your dog.

During your BetterVet appointment, your dog's veterinary doctor may suggest blood work and antibiotics if an infection is suspected. However, if you're unsure if your dog's wound is severe, it's always best to be cautious and schedule an exam with a licensed veterinary professional. 

What to Clean Dog Wounds With

Wounds on dogs must be disinfected promptly. While you may be tempted to use hydrogen peroxide (used in humans to disinfect wounds), you shouldn't use this substance to clean dog wounds. Hydrogen peroxide can make your dog's injury worse.

Instead, use a pet-friendly disinfectant, such as betadine, iodine, or a chlorhexidine solution. If you have a pet first aid kit, you probably have one of these solutions at your fingertips. After the bleeding has ceased, apply the disinfectant to your dog's wound. Then, use a dog-friendly antibiotic ointment on the wound. Not only will this help prevent infection, but it can help accelerate the process of healing wounds in dogs.

How to Treat a Dog's Wound

Although a wound or cut on your fur baby can be alarming, most minor injuries and cuts are not severe. After you've stopped the bleeding and disinfected your dog's wound, the next step is to bandage the wound. Covering your dog's cut or wound helps protect it from dirt and debris that can enter through the open skin. Do not attempt to use human band-aids on your dog's wound. The adhesive on these bandages isn't designed for the pet's fur. Instead, use a bandage or covering that's safe for pets. Ensure the bandage is not applied too tightly, which can be manifested as swelling around the bandage and can compromise circulation. Once your dog's wound is covered, inspect it often to make sure it's healing correctly. Most dog wounds heal within a few days to a week.

As part of treatment for a dog wound, change the bandage or covering regularly (usually twice per day). Some signs and symptoms your dog's injury may be infected include:

  • Bleeding
  • Swelling
  • Color changes
  • Foul odors 

Seek help from your BetterVet veterinary doctor for bandaging guidance and/or if you've noticed any of these symptoms on your dog's wound or cut.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I prevent my dog from scratching its wound?

After a wound occurs, you might notice your dog attempting to scratch the area vigorously. Scratching can make the injury worse and delay the healing process. Cover the area with a bandage to help prevent your dog from scratching its wound.

Several anti-itching creams are available to help prevent your dog from scratching its wound. During your BetterVet video consultation, your dog's veterinary doctor can provide recommendations for pet-friendly anti-itch and anti-licking sprays and creams.

When should I take my dog to the vet for a cut?

Most minor cuts and wounds on dogs can be treated at home by pet owners. However, some instances may require medical attention from a licensed veterinary doctor. For example, if your dog's cut begins to look infected or has not healed within a week, it may be time to seek professional care. In addition, any bite wounds should always be examined by a veterinary doctor.

In general, a veterinary professional should treat deep cuts or cuts larger than one inch in length. Scheduling a same-day or next-day home visit with BetterVet is a practical option that allows your pet to remain in their home.

Keep Your Pet Thriving With BetterVet Veterinary Doctor

With these expert tips for caring for wounds in dogs, you'll be well-prepared to address minor cuts and wounds your dog may suffer from. In addition, with annual pet wellness visits, you can do your part as a great pet parent to keep your dog happy, healthy, and thriving!

During your dog's next pet wellness visit, ask your BetterVet vet tech for more tips and tricks for treating dog wounds at home. Schedule an online or in-home visit with BetterVet today using our online appointment booking system.

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