All you need to know about dog wound care.
Dogs are rough-and-tumble characters who often end up with cuts and scrapes.
If these are minor, you can usually treat these yourself using basic dog wound care. I must stress the disclaimer “IF THEY ARE MINOR” though. If in any doubt as to the seriousness of a wound you should always take the dog to a vet.
Dog Wound Care: When to Call in a Vet
The following signs indicate that the wound should be treated by a vet, or that there may be other injuries that require urgent veterinary care;
- The wound is bleeding heavily. Apply basic first aid to stop the bleeding, then take the dog to the vet.
- The dog has been hit by a car. He’s likely to have internal injuries, in addition to the scrapes and cuts you can see.
- He appears to have a broken bone. Immobilize the dog, place him on a stretcher and transport him to the vet.
- The wound is hot and swollen or there is deeply embedded debris. Don’t try to remove the debris as you may push it deeper into the wound.
- The dog’s breathing is abnormal, and/or he is having difficulty standing or walking. There may be internal injuries.
If any of these signs are present, do whatever you need to stabilize the dog, then transport him immediately to the vet. Time may be of the essence, so don’t waste it.
Dog Wound Care: Treating Minor Wounds
The best way to treat minor scratches, tears and punctures is to clip the hair around the wound and then use an antiseptic solution to wash the wound out.
Supplies you’ll need for dog wound care;
- Electric hair clipper
- K-Y jelly
- Antiseptic cleaner
- 10 cc syringe (without needle) for flushing and cleaning the wound
- Small bowl for diluting the antiseptic cleaner
- Paper towels or a clean cloth
- Antiseptic ointment
- Gauze pads
- Cover the wound completely with a thick layer of K-Y jelly, to ensure that no clipped hair can fall into it.
- Clip an area of hair for about one inch (2.5 centimetres) around the wound. For long-haired breeds, cut back any hair that might get stuck in the wound.
- Once the hair is clipped, use a gauze pad to wipe the jelly and any loose hair out of the wound.
- Mix a small amount of antiseptic cleaning solution diluted with water. Use just enough to give the water a pale color.
- Gently syringe the antiseptic solution onto the wound, then blot (don’t wipe) it dry with the cloth or paper towels.
- Continue syringing and solution on until the wound looks clean and there is no surface debris.
- Soak gauze pads in the antiseptic solution and gently pat it onto the wound.
- Place some antiseptic ointment on the wound, then gently dry the fur around the wound.
- If the wound is small, leave it uncovered, if it is larger, cover with gauze held in place with tape.
Gently clean and re-dress the wound once or twice a day and it will heal quickly.
However, if it does not appear to be getting better, feels hot or swollen, gives off a bad odor, or if it appears to be causing the dog pain, call your vet for advice.
Remember that the dog wound care advice above is for minor wounds only, if in doubt, your first port of call should always be your vet’s surgery.