Proper Wound Care for Your Dog

Dog wounds can happen at any time. Your dog can be easily scratched by a fence or bitten by another animal. Wounds can be minor in nature or can be severe an even life-threatening if not treated right away.

There are three types of wounds: abrasions, lacerations and puncture wounds. The main goals of dog wound care are to stop the bleeding and stop infection from occurring. Here are some steps to take during the treatment process.

Steps of proper wound care

    • Preparing the skin – It is paramount to stop the bleeding before the skin can be prepared. First, using something absorbent, such as gauze, a towel or a clean cloth, apply pressure to the wound for up to 10 minutes. Once the bleeding has stopped, clean the area around the wound with a surgical solution such as Betadine. Next, clip the dog’s fur to prevent it from getting caught inside the wound and causing infection.
    • Irrigating the wound – Irrigating the wound helps clean it and prevent infection. To do this, use clean tap water and insert large amounts inside the wound to flush out the dirt and debris. This should be done until the tissues are fully cleaned. A syringe is useful for wound irrigation.
    • Cleaning the wound – After the wound has been irrigated as thoroughly as possible, some dead tissue may still remain. At this point, tweezers and scissors may be needed to remove the tissue. This step should be done by an experienced vet that knows how to carefully remove the tissue and close up a wound of this severity. However, if you prefer to do this step yourself, YouTube has a video that shows how to properly clean the wound.

  • Closing the wound – Not all dog wounds need to be closed in order to heal. Wounds on the face and ears require closure in order to prevent infection and promote healing. Smaller wounds – those ½ inch or smaller – do not always need to be closed. When in doubt, consult with a vet.
  • Bandaging – After the wound has been closed, it may or may not need to be bandaged. Bandaging prevents dirt from entering the wound and keeps the dog from licking or biting at it. However, whether or not a bandage is feasible will depend on the location of the wound and the ease of bandaging. Head and neck wounds heal quicker when left unbandaged. Wounds on the upper body are difficult to bandage, but wounds on the legs are often bandaged.

Lacerations should be looked at by a vet. However, abrasions can be treated at home. Using warm water and antibacterial soap, gently clean the affected area and remove as much dirt as possible. Apply an antibiotic ointment, such as Neosporin, to the abrasion several times a day until the abrasion goes away.

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