Dogs are playful creatures, and as such they frequently incur minor injuries that require first aid. The most common injury is a cut to the foot or foot pad. You can usually heal a dog's wounds by keeping them clean and letting them air dry, but you can also encourage faster healing with minimal care. (Of course, if bleeding is excessive or does not stop after 5 minutes, you should seek immediate veterinary attention.) Use topical antiseptic and a clean dressing to speed healing in dogs with minor cuts and scrapes.
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Things you need
- Rubber gloves
- Clean towels
- Warm water or hydrogen peroxide
- Mild soap
- Antiseptic ointment
- Cotton swab
- Sterile gauze
- First-aid tape
Clear debris from the wound gently with your hand or tweezers, without rubbing.
Clean the wound with soap and water or a 3 per cent hydrogen peroxide solution. Do not use peroxide on the wound beyond the first cleansing, as this may prevent normal clotting.
Pat the wound dry, being careful not to get fur in the wound.
Apply antiseptic ointment, preferably one that is specifically formulated for canines.
Cover the wound with a thick pad of gauze and wrap snugly with a gauze strip. Tape the gauze in place.
Flex the joint nearest to the dressing to ensure that the area is mobile and has good circulation.
Replace the dressing at least once a day to discourage infection or anytime the dressing gets wet, loose or dirty. Reapply antiseptic with the new dressing.
Tips and warnings
- If your dog tends to chew or lick her dressing, you can use an Elizabethan collar or even a muzzle to prevent her from disturbing the bandage.
- A dry sock makes a great wound bandage protector for foot and foot pad injuries. Sandwich bags and bread bags are also great for keeping the wound dry.
- Seek veterinary treatment for cuts more than ½ inch long, which may require suturing.
- If your dog is bleeding profusely or you suspect a broken bone, seek immediate veterinary care. Likewise, if your dog was struck by a car, have him checked out; he could have internal injuries.
- Never give dogs medications that were intended for human consumption. Some human pain relievers, for example, may be toxic to pets.
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