Wound care for dogs requires you to devote considerable time and effort in ensuring a speedy recovery for your suffering or ailing dog.
It is extremely painful and disheartening to see your furry companion suffer from pain as a result of wounds. In this article, we are going to guide you with the necessary steps in dog injury care because most dog owners become too anxious. However, visiting a vet first is a must especially when your dog has a somewhat big and open wound.
What do you need to care for a dog's wound?
Proper open wound care for dogs at home would require you to get hold of the below essential supplies as listed below:
Clippers, scissors or razors
Electric dog clippers should be preferred over razors when it comes to clipping the dog’s hair and fur before treating the wound because the former is safer. You can use small round tip scissors or silent trimmers. However, in case, you are using a razor, be very careful not to hurt the animal.
A clean, soft, medium-sized towel is necessary to soak the wounded area and patting it dry. It must be clean so as not to create chances of infection since the wound is open and ready to catch bacteria.
Wound care for dogs is practically useless without a proper antiseptic solution that actually works towards preventing the infection and healing the wound. You can go for Chlorhexidine, which is readily available and also cheap. A 2% solution is better in limiting tissue irritation. However, Chlorhexidine is definitely the most effective in treating the bacteria that comes with skin infections in general.
A good flow of lukewarm tap water is again necessary for soaking and cleaning the wounded area. Your vet might even suggest soaking the wound with warm water regularly and multiple times to drain out the puss and the bloody discharge.
An antimicrobial ointment is an equally important item in wound care for pets, especially when it contains bacitracin, neomycin, and polymyxin B. You can go with the Micronazole ointment, which is good for dogs with allergic tendencies too.
A water-based lubricant is a relatively important item that you need in wound care right after you have cleaned the wounded area of your dog. The lubricant needs to be water-based because it will avoid sticking on the skin surface. As a result, it will separate the wounded area and keep aside the furs.
How to Treat an Open Dog Wound?
Caring for a dog wound can be done at home provided that you have all the necessary accessories. Here is a step-by-step guide for treating an open dog wound in a safe and protected way.
The step-by-step procedure in treating dog wounds
To begin with, make your dog lie down comfortably on a table right in front of you. For large dogs, you can prefer to get down to the ground. Because wound care for dogs would require you to use certain items one by one, it is better to have a second person to assist you throughout.
- As the first step in wound care for dogs, use a water-based lubricant to cover the open wound and surrounding area. This is because it is necessary that the shaved hair do not come on and around the wound and thereby, cause contamination.
- For more safety, just clip and shave off the hair from around the wounded area. Whether you are using electric clippers, razor or scissors, be extremely cautious because hurting your dog further is totally avoidable.
- By now, the water-based lubricant has worked its way so, you can remove it with a clean, dry piece of cloth. Immediately, wash off the area with warm water till dirt goes off and pat dry thereafter.
- As the subsequent step in wound care for dogs, apply a non-stinging antiseptic solution. Chlorhexidine is a widely recommended one and it will kill the bacteria that come with skin infections in dogs. As an accompanying result, it will also limit the irritation and burning sensation.
- Right after this, use an antimicrobial ointment. The ointment will soothe the area and the ones like the Miconazole ointment will prevent allergies like dermatitis in dogs that are prone to these infections.
- Open wound care for dogs can be tedious because now, you have to hold your dog and prevent them from removing the applied ointment off the skin for at least 10 minutes or preferably, longer. Applying a bandage is strictly forbidden.
Repeat this wound care for dogs process 2-3 times a day until the wound is healed. Do not delay calling your veterinarian in case the wound remains more than a week or worsens in any possible way.
How To Care for an Open Dog Wound
The processes of wound care for dogs are not for once but till your dog recovers completely. In this regard, the vet will advise you on a few best practices in dog injury care, listed as follows.
Clean the wound regularly
After you have attended to the wound of your dog the first time, make sure cleaning it regularly. This is because regular cleaning fastens up the healing process and keeps the area free from debris. As a result, there will be less to no chances of re-infection and healthy tissues will start to develop eventually.
Ensure that all medicines are given on time
Take extra care in ensuring that your dog takes all prescribed medicines in the recommended way. Do not stop giving a particular medicine unless asked by the vet. Make a note of everyday medicines and put aside the doses to ensure regularity because medicines are a must in wound care for dogs.
Stop your dog from licking the wound
Depending on the position of the wound, your dog might have a tendency to reach up to it and chew or lick the area. Prevent this in any possible way, even if that requires putting an e-collar around your dog’s neck, because uncalled-for licks can injure the dog even further.
Ensure the wound doesn't heal too quickly
Surprising as it may sound but it is better if the wound does not heal too quickly. This is especially relevant for wounds that have been drained surgically to get rid of the abscesses. A quick closing of the wound poses higher risks of recurrence.
How To Care for Dog Stitches
Wound care for dogs is easier when the wound is not open and is surgically treated. All you need to do is monitor the stitch, keep it dry and clean and of course, consult a vet if there is any unnatural discharge, blood and so on.
A surgical operation can take about 10-14 days to heal completely in dogs. During this time, you need to be vigilant and careful at all times. First, do not let your dog lick, chew or scratch the stitches in any way because this would tamper the stitch and also cause infections. Make sure they are wearing a collar that prevents him/her from turning around.
Cleanliness is of utmost importance during this time. Not only the stitch should be clean but also the dog’s bed should be free of dirt and germs. Place a towel every night and replace it the next morning. Also, keep the area as dry as possible because you don’t need to apply any ointment, cream of solutions unless advised by the vet.
If your dog goes outside during this time, make sure covering the stitched wound with a plastic bag so that the bandages are not soiled. Remove it when they are at home.
Can I Stop a Dog's Wound from Closing Too Early?
A rule of thumb in canine wound care is that you should not let it close too fast. You can do this by regularly massaging the wounded area and the skin around. This, in turn, will result in the drainage of an abscess, which is necessary.
Irrespective of the nature or color of discharge, make sure all of it is drained properly through careful massaging. However, monitor the discharge color and if continues to be green or yellow, accompanying blood at times, consult the vet for further steps to take.
Should I Give My Dog Painkillers for a Wound?
You must never give painkillers to your dog for any types of wounds whatsoever. Medicines in the form of pain killers can cause side-effects and they can turn out to be more damaging for your dog’s health.
Open wound care for dogs can, in most situations, take place through external cleaning and application of medicated ointments. In the event that your dog seems to be in intolerable pain, speak to the vet and find out what he has to say about it.
Natural Wound Care Remedies for Dogs
Natural remedies such as essential oils can heal some open wounds in dogs. Generally, the wounds mustn’t be too wide and should not affect a large part of the skin.
The following are some of the natural wound care for dog remedies that you should know about.
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Calendula officinalis is an easy to grow medicinal herb that offers a natural way to heal wounds in people and dogs. It heals both wounds and skin problems fast because it is filled with antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, antiviral and antimicrobial properties altogether. Calendula not only supports quick healing but also prevents infections in the wounds.
Yunnan Baiyao is a natural wound care solution for dogs that found its place in traditional Chinese medicine for pets. It is available in the form of capsules and it helps in stopping bleeding, dispersing blood stasis, activating blood circulation and, thereby, reducing pain and inflammation. It is good for treating open wounds because it shortens the clotting time too.
Soaking the wound
Soaking the wounded area with warm water is a natural way of reducing the pain and helping the wounded area heal up faster. Mix 1 tsp of Epsom salt with 2 cups of warm water and soak a clean piece of soft cloth in the water and then, gently apply it on the wound as a compress. It is effective because the warm water drains the discharges out, reducing the inflammation at the same time.
Echinacea is an herb that comes from the Echinacea plant and it is known to work effectively as an immune stimulant. As an important part of veterinary medicine as wound care for dogs remedy, it provides your dog with maximum alkylamides, cichoric acid, and immune polysaccharides. As a result, your dog becomes more immune from the inside to deal with the infection and prevent the bacteria from damaging further.
This precisely sums up everything you need to be aware of wound care for dogs. Make sure that you take each step cautiously and use the best products because the wounds can be really painful for your dog. Consult a veterinarian whenever you are not sure of what and how to do.