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Wound Care for Dogs

↯ Key takeaway points

  • Treating dog wounds at home can be complex and must not involve corticosteroids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • The first steps to wound treatment include calming the dog, stopping the bleeding, and clipping the hair around the wound.
  • The wound must then be cleaned with warm water and an antiseptic applied. Antibacterial ointment can also be used to keep the wound clean, and the dog must be prevented from licking the wound.
  • Severe wounds, such as those with pus, swelling, odor, and red, puffy areas, or those that cause excessive tiredness, loss of appetite, diarrhea, or vomiting, require immediate medical treatment from a veterinarian.
A pet lover passionate about educating readers about animal health and care. Love reading studies and recent research.
Published on
Tuesday 9 May 2023
Last updated on
Tuesday 9 May 2023
Wound Care for Dogs
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Learning wound care for dogs can be helpful when they get hurt from engaging in different physical activities. There can also be instances where they get cuts and lacerations from fighting with other animals. It can be unfortunate to have injuries, but this article will guide you on how to treat dog wounds!

How to Treat Dog Wounds at Home 

According to Cassie N. Lux‘s research about wound healing in animals, wound treatment for dogs can be complex because different factors can affect its effectiveness. She also advised that when dealing with such injuries, pet owners must not use corticosteroids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs because these things cause harmful effects. 

Consequently, since lesions can get infected, you must also know how to clean a wound on a dog. Fortunately, we have explained the primary wound treatment procedures possible at home. You can read these steps below to know more! 

Calm Your Dog and Stop the Bleeding

Your dog can get anxious and scared whenever it is in pain. It can also bite, so putting on a muzzle can help prevent biting-induced injuries. Moreover, you can also create a space on the floor or the table with blankets and towels for comfort.

Once your furry friend calms down, you can stop the bleeding on the wounded area by applying pressure with either a towel or a small gauze pad. Nevertheless, if the blood vessels do not clot and slow to halt, bring your dog to the veterinary clinic, especially when the blood pumps every heartbeat.

Clip the Hair Around the Wound

Before treating the wound, use an electric clipper or scissors with extreme caution to remove the fur from the wounded area. Ensure not to cut your dog’s skin to prevent further injuries. 

If the hair is sticky, you can use a water-based lubricant or oil-based ointment suitable for dogs. Apply a small amount to make it easier to remove the cut hair stuck to the open wound. 

Clean the Wounded Area With Warm Water

Get clean, lukewarm water to flush the wound if it has debris. You must rinse the bacteria and dirt from the surface of the injured area to eliminate the risk of infections.

If the wound is in the dog’s paw, you can soak its feet in a clean bucket or bowl of water. On the other hand, if it is elsewhere in its body, you can invite it to the shower, bath, or sink. You can also add dish soap, mild baby shampoo, or hand soap to the water, but do not use harsh cleaners and harmful cleaning products because they will cause the wound to become more painful and slower to heal. 

Apply Antiseptic

Apply your chosen antiseptic product to disinfect the wounded area further. Using antiseptics will lead the growth of microorganisms and infection to slow or stop. That would be beneficial to prevent the risk of worsening the injury.

A few of the most recommended antiseptics are diluted betadine and chlorhexidine. When choosing a brand, checking whether or not they are non-irritating and non-toxic is the first thing to do. In contrast, avoid using hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol because they can damage skin cells.

Apply Antibacterial Ointment

Aside from the antiseptic, you can also apply a thin layer of an antibacterial ointment or hydrogel to keep the wound clean. It can also help provide soothing relief to the wounded area. Nonetheless, do not use products that contain corticosteroids or hydrocortisone.

After applying the antibacterial ointment, you can opt to cover the wound using a bandage to prevent contamination. It will also restrain your furry friend from biting or licking the lesion. For this instance, you can get gauze with self-adhesives to keep it in place. 

Prevent Your Dog From Licking the Wound

As stated earlier, you must forbid your dog from licking its wound in the meantime because its saliva can aggravate the bacteria growth. It can also hinder the healing process due to the friction of the tongue to the injured area. Furthermore, your dog’s mouth can contain germs and dirt that can enter the lesion upon licking it. 

Therefore, you can use a dog cone or an e-collar to avoid these things from happening. The only problem is that your furry friend can be uncomfortable wearing it.

Clean the Wound With Antiseptic for Three Days

To finish the process, you can use an antiseptic spray to add an extra layer of protection that will keep fleas, flies, and bugs away from entering your dog’s wound. It will also kill harmful protozoa, bacteria, ringworms, pathogens, and viruses. Moreover, it will also reduce swelling and pain.

After everything, you can repeat the process of putting in antiseptics and antibacterial agents for faster and better results. You can regularly apply for three days or until the wound heals. 

Safe Cleaning Solutions for Dogs

Since the treatment for dog wounds can include different medicated sprays, ointments, and cleaning solutions, you can wonder what specific brands you must use for the procedure. So, what can you put on a dog wound? Continue reading to discover these products below! 

1. Vetericyn Plus All Animal Wound and Skin Care Spray

Vetericyn Plus All Animal Wound and Skin Care Spray is perfect for cleaning your pets’ scrapes, hot spots, cuts, and other injuries of any severity. It also aims to soothe allergies, such as dry, itchy, and sensitive skin. Luckily, you can worry less about its side effects because this product is safe and non-toxic, with no antibiotics and steroids added.

In addition, Vetericyn Wound and Skin Care Spray does not produce a stinging sensation when applied to your dog’s wound, so you no longer need to rinse every use. Your furry friend will only require two to three times of applications per day for relief. Lastly, this product does not stain furniture and clothes. 


  • Cures severe wounds from training collars
  • Heals injuries in less than a week
  • Suitable for soothing irritations
  • Applicable for other animals aside from dogs


  • It smells like watered-down bleach.
  • Some users reported that the product could have a watery consistency if you will not buy it in the official store.

2. Vetcare Quickderm Ointment

If you want to purchase a safe cleaning solution you can store for years, you can opt for Vetcare Quickderm Ointment because it has a three-year shelf life. It is a product suitable for all ages, breeds, and animals. Moreover, it only requires one application per day to achieve great results.

In terms of its effectiveness, this product treats minor to severe wounds, such as abrasions, bites, hot spots, burns, skin irritations, cuts, lacerations, foot pad injuries, embedded collars, and non-infected abscesses. Also, it aids in improving the skin around the wounded area. Not to mention that it is also steroid-free and antibiotic-free!


  • Encourage natural healing
  • Suitable for other animals aside from dogs
  • Heals cuts, scrapes, hot spots, and bug bites from flies and mosquitoes
  • It does not cause skin irritations.


  • The product may come with a tube with mostly air inside.
  • A few users said it did not suit their dogs because it did work even after several days of application.
  • Expensive

3. Pet MD Hot Spot Treatment for Dogs

As its name says, Pet MD Hot Spot Treatment for Dogs is suitable for treating skin infections, including hot spots, abrasions, acne growth, cuts, and insect bites. It also helps clean face folds, underarms, groin, and finger folds. Also, it contains astringent qualities that can dry affected areas.

Aside from that, this product is alcohol-free to suit dogs, cats, and horses. It also contains essential fatty acids and vitamin E to nourish your pet’s skin. Furthermore, it is a non-stinging solution that controls skin irritations.

Nevertheless, even though it deodorizes and relieves pyoderma and dermatitis from allergies, a few users showed frustration as they said there were no allergen or soothing ingredients in the product. 


  • Heals in less than one week
  • Suitable for curing skin irritations, hot spots, and scratching
  • Cleans wound effectively
  • With a decent and not overwhelming scent
  • It does not smell like chemicals.


  • It does not work for Frito feet
  • Sticky when applied to dogs
  • No allergen or soothing ingredients

What Do You Need for Dog Wound Treatment

Preparing a first aid kit for your four-legged friend is the best way to deal with minor dog wounds on unexpected days. You can either buy them in different stores or purchase each item separately. The necessary things you need to have are the following:

  • Muzzle or e-collar
  • Warm water
  • Pet antiseptic solution
  • Chlorhexidine shampoo
  • Soap or cleaning solution
  • Antimicrobial ointment for dogs
  • Water-based lubricant, such as KY Jelly (not Vaseline)
  • Self-adhesive bandages
  • Sterile bandages
  • Tweezers
  • Bandage scissors
  • Clean towels or rags
  • Spray bottles
  • Electric clippers, such as scissors and disposable razors

When to Take Your Dog to The Vet

You can treat minor cuts and wounds at home. Nonetheless, once these injuries become severe, your furry friend will require immediate medical treatment from professional veterinarians. 

For instance, Kozar et al.‘s research about types of wounds and the prevalence of bacterial contamination explained that the most common injuries in dogs are bites from other animals. This lesion can inject bacteria underneath a dog’s skin, which can be impossible to become cleaned at home because the infection can be too deep.

Aside from that, the following wounds and injuries are examples of situations that will need dog wound care from a veterinarian.

  • Deep cuts that penetrate the skin, such as deep lacerations
  • An open wound on a dog with large foreign objects in it
  • Injuries around the head or eyes, or those that cause difficulty in breathing
  • Torn skins that almost show the dog’s flesh
  • Cuts longer than an inch or involve a large portion of a canine’s body
  • Wounds in the abdomen or chest that can have internal bleeding or damage
  • Injuries from a car accident or other traumatic experiences
  • Wounds with pus, swelling, odor, and red, puffy areas
  • Those that cause excessive tiredness, loss of appetite, diarrhea, or vomiting
  • Any other lesion you are worried about or unsure of

Remember that if you have already performed a dog wound treatment and the healing process did not work within a week, you must bring your dog to the nearest veterinary clinic. The vet will help you treat your furry friend because they will most likely know what to put on a dog wound to cure it immediately.

You can worry less about your furry friend’s injuries now that you have already learned how to treat an open wound on a dog. Whenever such instances occur, ensure not to panic because it can also cause your dog to become anxious and scared. Contrastingly, it is best to stay calm and seek help if necessary.

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