Treating minor dog wounds
Dogs get into tussles with other animals, and explore things they shouldn’t. As a result, they’ll often come home with minor puncture wounds and lacerations. Fortunately, doctoring the dog isn’t much different than human first-aid.
Bob Weedon is the shelter veterinarian for the Champaign County Humane Society in Illinois. He says in some cases it might be helpful to shave the area first. Weedon recommends covering the wound and the surrounding area with a sterile lubricant jelly. This prevents dirt and fur from getting into the wound. Since the lubricant jelly is water soluble, it, and any hair or dirt, will be washed away during the cleaning. He says the soap you use for cleansing should be gentle.
"Any sort of good anti-microbial soap that you would use to clean a wound on yourself is probably safe to use on a wound on a dog, something like Phisoderm, or one of those anti-microbial soaps," says Weedon. "I would not recommend putting astringents or alcohol on an open wound because that’s going to really hurt and alcohol can be desiccating to tissue."
Once they’re cleaned out, many wounds will heal by themselves without a bandage. Weedon says if it looks infected or has the potential to become infected, apply a triple-antibiotic ointment twice a day, and keep it covered so the dog doesn’t lick or scratch the area.
Bandaging a dog’s limbs has to be done carefully. The arms and legs are wider at the top, so there’s a tendency for the bandage to slip down.
"Typically when we bandage a limb on a dog, we will bandage the area below the area that we’re trying to bandage so that the bandage doesn’t slip down, and also so you don’t cut off blood supply," says Weedon.
Weeden says a rule of thumb is if the wound needs bandaging but it’s not something you can easily do, you need veterinary assistance.
Here are more tips for taking care of minor dog wounds at home
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