As an owner, loyal companion, and family member to our best friends, we are their first responders prior to reaching the emergency clinic or animal hospital. This is the third of a series of posts that will make you better prepared to handle many emergency situations that you might encounter with your dog.
Cleaning and Bandaging a Wound
Accidents can and do happen, so be prepared. When treating your dogs’ minor cuts or scrapes, we can follow similar protocols that we follow for humans. First you are going to assess the situation and understand how your dog’s skin was punctured or scraped. Some of the wounds you will encounter that will need professional care include:
- Animal Bites – When animal teeth puncture your pet’s skin, there is the possibility of bacteria from teeth entering deep into your pet’s tissue. This will need your vet’s care to be properly cleaned but you can start the initial steps at home -- after your initial phone call with the Vet.
- Punctures with an unknown source – Injuries with an unknown source should be treated as a worst-case scenario -- to be safe. For example, a minor wound can be sustained from a toxic metal shard.
- Cuts more than an inch deep. These are signs of serious injury and should be treated by a Veterinarian.
- Wounds sustained to the chest or abdomen. Serious injury; contact Vet right away.
Should the wound be minor, you should be able to administer the steps bellow:
The primary goal is to remove any foreign objects that can lead to infection; apply pressure to stop the bleeding; and sanitize the exposed area with water or warm saline solution which can be made by adding 1 tsp of salt to 2 cups of water.
Pat dry with a clean towel and apply an antibacterial ointment to the wound, however, be sure avoid all corticosteroid ointments. After the wound has been disinfected, apply a non-stick bandage, wrap in gauze, and secure bandages with adhesive tape. Do not to wrap it too tightly and be sure to contact your Vet to get their advice on next steps.
Tip: If you have a bottle of water, you can poke a hole in the cap and use it to flush out any debris.
- Primary goal is to Remove any Foreign Objects that can lead to infection such as rocks and glass.
- Clean and disinfect the wound. You can use clean tap water to rinse the wound or make a saline solution at home with 1 teaspoon of salt and 2 cups of warm water. Be sure to not use any household soaps or shampoos.
- Stop Bleeding by applying pressure to the wound with Gauze, a clean towel, blanket or T-shirt. If you notice your pet’s blood spurting out in consistent intervals, you must get to a vet or animal hospital immediately as it will continue with every heartbeat.
Next week, we’ll look at how to treat a bleeding nail or ear laceration.
Nicholas Mozas is Founder and CEO of DOGORA. He is a graduate of the University of Guelph in Biological Science and holds an M.Sc. in Neutragenomics. Nicholas managed an Animal Hospital after graduation, gaining a better understanding of pets’ and owners’ needs. Find out more at www.dogora.ca.
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