With an active nature, dogs are so vulnerable to minor skin injuries. The more adventurous breeds have an even greater risk of acquiring injuries even when they are simply at home. So as the pet-parent, it’s your job to learn how to treat a cut on a dog.
Caring for open wounds is an important knowledge you can incorporate in needed times. While you can always go to the vet, it’s still handy and more beneficial if you’re able to heal your little pooch yourself, or at least be able to administer the first aid.
How to treat a cut or bruise on a dog
1. Most injuries are dirty. If you encounter the same case, the first thing to do is to clean the affected area with an antiseptic (non-stinging type) mixed in warm water.
2. Grab a cloth or towel and carefully clean the injury with a soft motion. Do NOT rub the towel or cloth as it can cause friction, which results in pain. Note: It is not advisable to use loose-fibered materials such as cotton as the threads can stick on the affected area.
3. Grab a towel and soak it in cold water. Now apply this cold towel on the wound as a cold compress. You can also use a bag of frozen vegetables.
4. Start bandaging the wound after a few minutes, or after the towel has lost its coldness. This will keep your dog from licking the area.
5. Call your vet and ask for further advice. It’d be better if you know what caused the injury so the vet can make a more specific diagnosis. Also, try your best to describe the injury.
6. Change the bandage every 24 hours.
7. Do this until such time the wound is finally healed.
How to take care of an open wound
After your dog is admitted to the vet or in a pet hospital, you will need to follow some general guidelines that may include the following points:
1. Administering medication
Give him all the prescribed medications. It’s important to pay attention to antibiotics and refrain from stopping to administer it out of your own judgment. Antibiotics are not something you’d want to mess with. Strictly follow the specific instructions by your veterinarian.
2. Helping with the healing process
Always check the surrounding area of the wound and remove any debris that may have accumulated in it. Also, gently clean the said area on a daily basis. By making sure the wound is clean, you are effectively helping your dog develop healthier tissues while preventing any re-infection from happening.
3. Using a collar
Familiar with the E-collar? Well, they are not for aesthetics or just a mere indication that your dog is sick. Purchase an E-collar to prevent your dog from licking the open wound. It’s the nature of dogs to lick their wound and you can’t let that happen. Make your furball wear a protective collar so he can be safe.
An important fact for wounds
While it is your pure intention to help your dog heal from the injury, one thing you should know is you should NOT allow his skin from healing TOO FAST. Sounds a little bit absurd, but it’s really vital.
1. Why not allow the skin to make fast healing
The risk of recurrence increases when the wound closes prematurely. Not allowing the wound to close too quickly is essential with abscesses that have been surgically drained and lanced.
2. How to prevent wounds from closing prematurely
Here’s how to do this:
- Gently massage the surrounding of the wounded skin. This will open the wound and create a drainage.
- Continue massaging in a careful manner until you see some bleeding or discharge.
- Observe how the discharge looks. It will tell whether it’s infected or not. A clear, thin fluid is a good sign; while a thick, colored discharge means it is infected.
- Remove the discharge by swabbing a cloth.
- Do this again for the next day and observe whether it is still infected or not anymore
- Always call your vet for advice
How to clean the wound
It has been stated repetitively throughout the post that you should clean the wound. But not all pet-parents know how to or don’t know what to use.
1. Clean the wound with
- Warm saline (salt solution)
- Half-liter or 2 cups of water
- You can add 1 teaspoon Epsom salt or normal salt
- Your vet may recommend a dilute chlorhexidine cleansing solution
- Depending on your vet; use iodine solution or surgical scrub soap
2. Do NOT clean the wound with
- Rubbing alcohol
- Normal bathing soap
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Tea tree oil
- Random herbal preparation
Dogs in pain
If you can feel that your dog is in pain, you can administer a medication which he can take internally. An aspirin, for instance, is usually given to dogs with a recent injury. Call your vet first for confirmation.
Causes of dog injuries
1. Exercising in the woods
According to PetMD, most minor injuries happen on the paws and legs. This occurs as a result of exercising in areas with overgrown shrubbery or in the woods.
2. Too much time outside
The risk of injury is high if you have an active dog who loves spending time outdoors. While you can’t stop your canine companion from doing his thing outside, you can at least do your part by examining him when he gets home. Check your dog from the ground up. You can do this when you come home from work.
3. Accidental encounter
Due to having too much energy, your dog always has the tendency to meet some accidental encounters. This includes bumping against a blunt object, scraping against a hard surface or rock, stepping on a sharp object (thorns, etc.), or cutting himself from a bush.
Fighting with other dogs can often lead to injuries especially when no person is able to stop them. If this is the case, check your dog right away. He may be infected with rabies or other contagious diseases.
Before you treat your wounded dog
While we can assure that everything in this article is harnessed from thorough research, the team highly recommends every reader to visit a vet first – and actually make it a priority – as no online advice beats professional diagnosis.
We all love our canine companions. And part of our job is to take care of them just as how we care our human loved ones. Learning how to treat a cut on a dog is an essential knowledge that you can use whenever needed.