If you have a dog then you should always be prepared for anything that may occur, this includes basic injuries like cuts or scrapes or what you should do in the event of a pet emergency. Here our Greeley 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
It doesn't matter if you have a young pup that is the most active in the world or an old sleepy dog who only gets up for the necessities, all dogs have a risk of being injured at some point. While there are plenty of injuries that you can treat at home it is important to keep in mind that sometimes even the smallest wound has the risk of infection and so you should always 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
There are many types of wounds that can be managed at home without veterinary intervention, but there are also wounds that should be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible. These wounds that might require veterinary care include:
- Animals 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 (ie: 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 (ie: 2% chlorhexidine)
- Antimicrobial ointment for 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
It is ideal to thoroughly clean the wound at the first sign of injury in order to avoid possible 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 are unsure about what to do, or whether your pet needs veterinary care, remember that when it comes to your animal's health it is always better to err on the side of caution. When in doubt contact your vet, or an emergency vet immediately.
It Is Recommended To Muzzle Your Dog
Muzzling during medical treatment is highly recommended as it can be common for animals that are confused and in pain to lash out during the process. 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 prevent the muzzle from being feared if there is ever a time that you will actually 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 easily remove the object with tweezers, 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
Wounds on your dog's paw can be easily cleaned by using a bowl or bucket filled with water to swirl your dog's paw in to remove any dirt or 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.
Do not use harsh cleaners or apply hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, or other caustic cleaning products to your dog’s skin as these can be painful or even cause the wound to take longer to heal.
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 highly useful for dogs that have a wound in an easy-to-reach spot as they will help to prevent your dog from being able to lick or bite at it while it is healing.
Continuing To Care For Your Dog's Wound
Monitor your pup's wound at least twice a day to ensure that infection doesn't set in and healing is proceeding as expected. Clean the wound with water or a pet-safe antiseptic solution twice a day, contact your vet immediately if the wound become 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 as it may require 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.