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Articles > Dogs

Cuts and Wounds

Topic: First Aid for Dogs

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Filed under Dogs
Tags: Health, Medical

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Dogs bring their human families a great deal of happiness in their lives and love their owners unconditionally. Unfortunately even in the most controlled environments it is still possible for your pet to receive a severe or minor cut or wound that will need treatment to prevent infection. Owners should have a basic understanding of how to treat simple and more significant types of cuts and wounds to provide first aid until the dog can be examined more completely by a vet.

If your pet is injured or has an accident, assessing the severity of the wounds or cuts and knowing what to do could save your pets life. There are several common causes of injuries such as traffic accidents, stepping on a sharp object, dogfights, and running into something sharp. There are times when you can treat the animal's injuries yourself and other times when you need to seek immediate medical attention for your pet. All dog owners need to know the course of action required when a pet is injured, what they can do in case of an emergency and recognize the times when only a veterinarian can administer the necessary first aid treatment their pet requires. Be sure you have a veterinarian for your pet that you have complete confidence in, provides you with information and advice and will take emergencies. Your veterinarian should give you the number of a twenty-four hour care emergency hospital that will look after your pet in case of emergency when your vet is unable to see your dog or after regular hours. Be sure to have a record of your dogs past medical history, shot records, and any other pertinent information in case you ever do have to take your pet to a twenty-four hour emergency clinic.

You should either buy or make two dog first aid kits, one for your home and one your vehicle. Be sure the one you keep in your vehicle for traveling or other places you take your pet is waterproof. You never know when a minor or serious accident might injury you dog and having the necessary supplies on hand could mean the difference between life and death. There are also first aid books and courses available on caring for your dog in an emergency. Some things that are necessary in your dogs first aid kit include gauze, antiseptic, tape, antibacterial ointment or spray, scissors, alcohol or peroxide to clean the cut, blanket, tweezers, and a muzzle if you have one. Antibiotic cream, ointment, and sprays are very important as they help avoid infection in the wound or cuts and promote rapid healing. There are many types of antibiotics for dogs. Some of these antibiotics include:

  • Oral antibiotics are administered to treat many different types of infection often caused by bacteria. Dogs usually take these by mouth in either tablet or liquid form.

  • Anti-Infective antibiotics treat various conditions such as eye infections, cuts and scratches, ulcers, and allergies. There are some, which treat ear inflammation or ear infections.

  • Topical antibiotic ointment, spray, and cream applied to a simple cut, scrape, or wound will aid in preventing infection in the wound and promote faster healing.


  • If your dog has an injury and you see bone, cartilage, the wound bleeds profusely, or there is a foreign object embedded in the injury such as glass, your dog will require professional medical attention as soon as possible. Remember that when your pet is in pain, regardless of how sweet tempered the dog normally is he might try to grab or bite you. You may have to gently tie your pets mouth closed using a muzzle, pieces of cloth, or gauze tape so you can examine his injuries safely and administering first aid.

    Humans wear boots, shoes and other footwear to protect their feet, while dogs do not. Although they have thick pads on the bottom of their feet for protection, they can still cut or injure their paws as the areas between and around the dogs paw pads is sensitive. Your pet can suffer injury such as burns, cuts, and punctures from walking or running on rock, soil, grass, cement, ice or other surfaces. If your pet suddenly favors one of his legs or starts limping, check his paw immediately for any foreign object or visible signs of cuts, swelling, bleeding, blisters, or redness. Some dogs do not mind when you examine their paws while others dislike anyone touching their paws so it may take a bit of persuasion.

    If your dog's paw is bleeding from a cut, make sure that there is no foreign object in the wound. Thoroughly clean it using warm salt water or just warm water. Finish cleaning the cut with an antiseptic solution and then apply a topical antiseptic ointment, cream or spray. Clean and check the wound daily, applying antiseptic until it heals. If it looks worse or is not healing after several days, take your pet to the vet for professional attention. Use a magnifying glass, check for splinters or foreign objects, and use tweezers to remove it. Again, cleanse the wound after you remove the splinter and apply antiseptic. If you can find no cause of the redness, blisters, or swelling on your dog's foot and he keeps favoring it, take him to the vet.

    Here are a few more tips to follow if your pet is injured. If your suspect your dog is in shock, use a blanket or large towel to cover him. It is critically important to stop the blood loss so apply pressure to any bleeding area on your dog using gauze or clean material. If blood soaks through the gauze, do not remove this but instead, continue adding gauze and applying pressure. Cover open wounds with a clean bandage or cloth to prevent dirt or other foreign matter from entering. In cases of cuts with severe bleeding or deep wounds, keep your dog as still, stable as possible, avoid manipulating the wound, and seek medical care for your dog as quickly as possible. When in doubt about the seriousness of an injury, cut, or wound, have your dog examined by your veterinarian.

    Other articles under "First Aid for Dogs"

    5/25/2008
    Article 1 - "Developing A Dog First Aid Kit"
    5/26/2008
    Article 2 - "Heatstroke"
    5/27/2008
    Article 3 - "Cuts and Wounds"
    5/28/2008
    Article 4 - "Foot Injuries"
    5/29/2008
    Article 5 - "Eye Injuries"
    5/30/2008
    Article 6 - "Skin Injuries and Conditions"


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