Dog Cuts and Infections

Updated April 17, 2017

If your dog is cut, there's a possibility the wound could become infected. Cuts are often painful enough, but add an infection to the mix and you've got a dog that is likely uncomfortable and unhappy. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent infection and treat dog cuts when they occur.


Cuts on dogs can be superficial or deep, yet both are at risk for infection. An infection occurs when bacteria enters the wound, typically causing pain, irritation, inflammation and even discharge. The Doctor Dog website states that most wounds that are at least 12 hours old and have not received treatment are likely to become infected. It can be difficult to identify a cut or infection, depending on where the wound is and how much hair your dog has, as the fur can hide the cut. If the cut is infected, it can get worse if left untreated.


If your dog has sustained a cut or wound, you may see it actively bleeding or notice dried blood around the wound. The dog may be sensitive and protective around the area of the cut. If the wound occurred on the foot or leg, the dog might limp. If the cut has become infected, you may notice a cloudy or even green discharge coming from the dog. The infection may also have a foul odour.


Diagnosis of an infection is typically simple. Infections will cause the skin around the wound to look swollen or red. Cuts that are infected usually contain a cloudy discharge around or in the wound, which is often pus. A veterinarian can examine the cut and detect whether or not it is infected. If it is, he can prescribe the appropriate medications to alleviate the infection.


If the cut is superficial, stitches are likely not required. If the cut is deep, the veterinarian may recommend sutures in order for the wound to heal. The hair around the wound should be clipped short to prevent it from entering the cut, which can introduce bacteria, states the Animal Hospitals USA website. The cut should be cleaned with surgical soap and rinsed thoroughly. Hydrogen peroxide is often applied to wounds, then rinsed with water. Antibiotic ointment may be distributed directly to the cut and oral antibiotics will likely be prescribed to treat the infection from the inside out. The veterinarian may place a bandage around the cut to prevent additional bacteria from entering, along with an Elizabethan collar to keep the dog from licking or biting the bandage or wound.


While it is almost impossible to prevent a cut from occurring on your dog, there are ways to keep the wound from becoming infected. Take your canine to the veterinarian immediately for treatment after the dog is injured. The longer the cut goes untreated, the higher its chances are of becoming infected. If you notice a cut and cannot take the dog to the vet right away, attempt to clean and apply hydrogen peroxide to the wound as soon as possible. Try to keep the hair away from the cut and your dog from licking the wound, because that can cause more damage.

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