While walking or playing, your dog, like everyone else, is at risk of injury at any time. Whether it’s a cut, a sting, or even a bite, it’s important to know how to react and to assess the need to go to the vet.
What types of wounds can you treat yourself?
A wound is a skin lesion that interrupts the continuity of the skin and provides an entry point for germs present in the external environment inside the dog’s body. Regardless of the severity of the wound, it is, therefore, necessary to treat it with great care to prevent the development of an infection.
There are, however, benign wounds that the owner of an animal can take care of on their own and more serious wounds that necessarily require veterinary care.
The wounds that can be treated at home are wounds that are not serious. They are recognized by the fact that they are BOTH:
superficial (they only concern the surface of the skin),
not very extensive,
not soiled by the presence of foreign bodies such as small pieces of glass, gravel, earth, plant debris, sand etc. or easily cleanable,
non-hemorrhagic (which does not bleed or very little),
AND recent (occurring less than 4 hours ago).
When to call a veterinarian?
Conversely, it is imperative to call a veterinarian very quickly to treat an animal’s wound if it is:
deep, that is to say, when it concerns the entire thickness of the skin or even deeper tissues or organs such as tendons, muscles, bones or internal organs,
OR located on the nose, eyes, ears, end of legs, elbow or knee, neck, thorax, abdomen, genitals or anus of the dog,
OR soiled by foreign bodies and which cannot be cleaned properly by the owner of the animal,
OR hemorrhagic (bleeding profusely),
OR caused by the bite of another animal,
OR old (occurred more than 4 hours ago).
How to treat a wound in dogs?
In the event of a minor wound, it is, therefore, possible to treat a wound in your dog yourself by following the steps below.
Prepare your material
Gather all the materials you will need to treat your pet’s wound, namely:
One bottle of physiological serum or, failing tap water or a bottle of water,
terry towels and/or a basin,
a disinfectant (aqueous solution of povidone-iodine or chlorhexidine at 0.5%),
a protective band,
Optional: disposable gloves.
Prepare your animal and your care space.
Install your animal in the room where you will be performing the treatment. For small dogs, ideally choose the bathroom where you can thoroughly clean the wound with physiological saline or running water over a sink, shower tray or bathtub. For larger dogs, go outside if possible or put towels or a basin near where you will be cleaning the wound to avoid flooding the floor of your room. Make sure the room is well lit, and your pet is calm.
Ideally, have another person assist you in holding your pet’s head during care. Muzzle your dog if you feel it is necessary.
wash your hands
Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, dry them and put on disposable gloves (if you have any). Drizzle your scissors with alcohol, and then let them dry on sterile pads.
Cleanse the wound
Begin the treatment by thoroughly cleaning your pet’s wound with physiological saline or tap water. You can place your pet’s wound under a medium-pressure faucet or under a garden hose by squeezing the nozzle a little.
If you do not have running water on hand, take a bottle of mineral water and pierce the cork with the tip of a knife, chisel, or corkscrew, then press the bottle without removing the plug to thoroughly clean the wound.
Dry the wound
Once the wound is well cleaned (there should not be any foreign body left inside, otherwise go to the veterinarian), disinfect the wound by applying the aqueous solution of povidone-iodine or chlorhexidine at 0.5% (if the wound does is not near the eyes).
Protect the wound
After disinfection of the wound, cover it with a new sterile compress, then hold it in place using a protective band (cut to the necessary length using your disinfected scissors) that you will take. Be careful not to over tighten and secure with a piece of tape. Change the dressing after 24 hours, again taking care to disinfect the wound. If you see any sign of infection, see your veterinarian right away. If your pet is able to remove his bandage, have him wear a collar until the wound has completely healed.