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First Aid : Minor Cuts and Wounds

4. Minor Cuts and Wounds

These most commonly occur to the foot from running on broken glass or sharp stones. If possible clean the wound with water. Cut pads and feet can often bleed profusely so if this is the case try to wrap the foot in lint or cotton wool and apply even pressure with a roller bandage – enclose the whole foot in the bandage.

Don’t use an elastic bandage or similar, as these cut off the blood supply. In most cases the dog should be checked by a vet, as stitches are often necessary, and as these wounds have normally been contaminated, antibiotics are usually required. If you can not stop the bleeding the dog should be seen by the vet as an emergency.

Smaller wounds can be treated at home by gently clipping the fur around the wound with a clean scissors. Use warm water or saline to flush out the wound and to remove all the dirt and debris from the area. You can apply an antibiotic cream twice daily.

See your vet if a cut is bigger that 1.5 cm in diameter, the wound does not get better in about three days, the wound becomes larger or produces pus, or if your dog is uncomfortable.

For minor cuts and scrapes, stop bleeding by applying direct pressure with gauze or a clean cloth. Cut away any hair that might get matted or interfere with the healing process. Clean the site with soap and water or 3 percent hydrogen peroxide, apply a mild antiseptic and bandage (small cuts and scraps can be left uncovered). Keep a careful watch for infection.

If you later see swelling, redness, pus or if your dog is uncomfortable, call your veterinarian.

For punctures or embedded objects, check to see if the object is still embedded. If it is and it’s very small, remove it carefully with tweezers. If it’s large, don’t attempt to remove it, as that may cause increased bleeding. Instead, stabilize your dog, restrain him in a blanket or towel to keep him from removing the object (if necessary, "hog-tie" him by gently tying his legs together). Then pack absorbent bandaging material around the wound, apply pressure to stem bleeding and transport to the veterinary hospital immediately.

If the object isn’t embedded, apply pressure to stop bleeding and clean the wound. Even small puncture wounds may become infected and require an antibiotic. Contact your veterinarian.

If your pet has been stung by a bee or wasp, check whether the stinger is still embedded (only bees leave the stinger behind). If it is, use something like a credit card or dull knife to scrape it off. Using tweezers to pull it out may inject more toxin. Soothe the area with a cold compress and apply a paste of bicarbonate of soda or an analgesic ointment. You may want to give him benedryl to combat allergic reactions (contact your vet for correct dosage). If you notice symptoms of shock or serious allergic reaction, call your vet.

Related Pages

Dog first aid essential advice on first aid for dogs

Dog first aid kit – essential first aid items

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