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Dog Wound Care & Healing Stages

If your dog sustains an injury, it's vital to know how to provide immediate care and when to seek professional assistance. In this blog post, our veterinarians in Mahopac will outline the steps for giving first aid to your dog's wounds at home.

How to Care for Dog Wound 

Regardless of your dog's lifestyle, accidents can result in grazes, scrapes, cuts, or other injuries that demand immediate attention. Even apparently minor wounds can result in severe infections.

Hence, if you're unsure whether to seek veterinary care for your dog, it's advisable to prioritize caution and contact your veterinarian promptly. Taking your injured dog to the vet can save you money and prevent your dog from enduring unnecessary pain.

Wounds in Dogs That Need Veterinary Care

While you can manage some dog wounds at home, certain situations require immediate veterinary attention. Here's a list of wounds that demand prompt care from a veterinarian:

  • A wound with a large object lodged in it (i.e.: a piece of glass)
  • Injuries around the eyes, head or that lead to breathing difficulties
  • Skin that has been torn away from the flesh below (often occurs during dog fights)
  • Animal bites (these may look small but become infected very very quickly)
  • Wounds caused by a car accident or other trauma

First Aid Kit for Dogs

We recommend preparing a pet first aid kit and gaining some basic knowledge in case your dog sustains a minor injury. Here's a list of essential items to keep on hand so you can promptly respond if your dog gets hurt:

  • Soap or cleaning solution
  • Antimicrobial ointment suitable for dogs
  • Pet antiseptic solution (i.e.: 2% chlorhexidine)
  • scissors
  • Spray bottle
  • Muzzle
  • Sterile bandages
  • Tweezers
  • Clean towels or rags 
  • Self-adhesive bandages
  • Bandage

Giving Your Dog First Aid

To prevent infections, promptly address and clean your dog's wound. Before administering first aid, ensure someone assists you in restraining your dog and providing support.

If you're unsure of what to do or whether to seek veterinary care, prioritize caution for your pet's health. When in doubt, contact your vet or take your pup to an emergency animal hospital right away.

Muzzle Your Dog

A scared, anxious, or hurt dog may bite while you are trying to help, which is why our team recommends muzzling your injured pooch before the first aid treatment begins. 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 to prevent adding to your pup's distress.

Look for Foreign Objects Lodged in the Wound

Examine the wound thoroughly to check for any objects or debris that may be lodged in it. This is particularly crucial when the wound is located on your dog's paw pad, as it could be due to them stepping on a sharp object. If you can easily remove the item using tweezers, do so gently. However, if it's deeply embedded, refrain from attempting to remove it and, instead, promptly contact your veterinarian or take your dog to an emergency vet.

Clean Your Dog's Wound

If your dog has a wound on its paw, swish the injured paw in a clean bowl or bucket of warm water to rinse out dirt and debris. For wounds located elsewhere on your dog's body, place your dog in a sink, bath, or shower, and gently run clean water over the wound. You can optionally add a small amount of mild baby shampoo, dish soap, or hand soap to the water.

Avoid using harsh cleaners or applying hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, or other caustic cleaning products to your dog's skin, as these can cause pain and potentially slow down the wound healing process.

Manage the Bleeding

If your dog has nothing stuck in their wound, apply pressure with a clean towel. While most small wounds should stop bleeding within a few minutes, larger wounds will probably 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.

Contain Your Dog's Wound

Do you have antibacterial ointment? If so, apply a small amount to the wound, then cover it with another bandage or sterile gauze. Do not use products containing hydrocortisone or other corticosteroids. Secure the gauze in place with a self-adhesive elastic bandage.

Keep Your Dog From Licking Their Wound

Is your dog trying to lick their wound? They might have to wear a cone or e-collar. 

Ongoing Care

You will have to monitor your dog's wound twice a day to make sure it is healing as it's supposed to and that it isn't becoming infected. Clean the wound with water or a pet-safe antiseptic solution twice a day, and contact your vet immediately if the wound becomes 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.

Healing Stages

The healing process for dog wounds comprises three primary stages, mirroring the process in humans. These stages include:

Inflammation -When a dog sustains an injury, the body's natural response is inflammation, similar to how your body would react to spraining an ankle or getting a cut. This initial stage of healing occurs almost immediately.

Debridement - Debridement begins within a few hours, removing dead tissues and cells from the wound and eliminating bacteria.

Repair - The repair phase begins a few days after the initial trauma and is far less alarming than debridement and inflammation.

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.

Does your dog have a wound that requires veterinary care? Contact our Mahopac vets immediately to get your pup the care they need.

New Patients Welcome

Mahopac Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Mahopac companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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