Dog Wound Care & Healing Stages

Dog injuries are common. While they are typically minor and treatable, there may be occasions when your canine needs additional attention and care. In this post, our Sharpsburg vets share some advice for dog wound care and treatment options like cold laser-therapy.

Dog Wounds

Even the most easygoing and calm dog may experience accidents, cuts, or injuries requiring immediate veterinary medical attention. While some wounds may appear minor, they can lead to severe infections. If you're uncertain whether to take your dog to the veterinarian, it's always wise to prioritize caution. Promptly seeking veterinary care upon noticing a wound could spare your pet considerable discomfort and save you significant expenses in the future.

When Should You Seek Veterinary Care For a Dog Wound?

While some dog wounds may be cared for by pet owners, others should be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible. Wounds that require veterinary care include:

  • Animal bites (these may look small but become infected quickly if not treated)
  • Skin that has been torn away from the flesh underneath (often occurs during dog fights)
  • A wound with a large object lodged in it (ie: a piece of glass or nail)
  • Wounds caused by a car accident or other trauma
  • Wounds around the eyes, head or that lead to breathing difficulties

What You Should Include in Your Doggie First Aid Kit

A pet first aid kit and a little know-how can be helpful if your dog has a minor injury. Below are a few things you should always have on hand in case your dog gets hurt.

  • Antimicrobial ointment suitable for dogs
  • Sterile bandages
  • Muzzle 
  • Soap or cleaning solution
  • Pet antiseptic solution (ie: 2% chlorhexidine)
  • Spray bottle
  • Clean towels or rags
  • Self-adhesive bandages
  • Bandage scissors
  • Tweezers

How to Apply First-Aid to Your Dog's Wound

Clean wounds as soon as possible to avoid infections. Before performing first aid on your dog, it is best to have someone to help you restrain your pup and be generally supportive.

If you are unsure what to do or whether your pet requires veterinary care, remember that it is always a good idea to consult your vet about your animal's health. When in doubt, contact your veterinarian or a local emergency veterinarian.

Take Safety Precautions

Ensure that you cautiously approach your dog if you notice they are injured. Dogs can lash out and bite as a self-defense mechanism if they are in pain. The last thing you want is for you and your pet to be injured and in need of medical care. If you are unable to get close to your pet then call your vet immediately and follow their instructions. 

Examine the Wound For Any Foreign Object

Look for objects or debris that may be lodged in the wound. This step is important if the wound is on your dog's paw pad and they may have stepped on something sharp. If you can easily remove the object with tweezers, do so gently. If the object is lodged deeply, leave it and call your vet or an emergency animal hospital.

Thoroughly Clean Your Dog's Wound

If the wound is on your dog's paw, rinse it in a clean bowl or bucket of warm water to remove the dirt and debris. If the wound is elsewhere on your dog's body, you can gently run clean water over the wound by placing your dog in a sink, bath, or shower.

Do not use harsh cleaners or apply hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, or other cleaning products to your dog’s skin. These can be painful or even cause the wound to heal slowly.

Control Your Dog's Bleeding

Apply pressure to the wound with a clean towel if nothing is stuck inside. While most minor wounds will stop bleeding within a few minutes, larger wounds will likely take longer. Within 10 minutes of applying pressure, the bleeding should stop. If your dog is still bleeding after that, contact your veterinarian or an emergency animal hospital.

Properly Cover the Wound With a Bandage

If you have antibacterial ointment on hand, apply a small amount to the wound before covering it with sterile gauze or another bandage. Products containing hydrocortisone or other corticosteroids should be avoided. To keep the gauze in place, use a self-adhesive elastic bandage.

Deter Your Dog From Licking The Wound

If your dog is trying to lick the wound, it may be necessary to have your dog wear an e-collar.

The Stages of Wound Healing

There are four stages that your dog's wound will go through as it heals. They are:

  • Debridement - Clean up, including removing dead cells and killing any bacteria.
  • Inflammation - The body slows blood flow and activates the immune system.
  • Repair - Cells rebuild and repair the damage using collagen.
  • Maturation - Collagen is reorganized and water is reabsorbed as the scar tissue forms.

Healing Process Using Cold Laser Therapy

Cold laser therapy (also referred to as low-level laser therapy or Class IV laser therapy) uses focused light to increase blood circulation and stimulate the regeneration of cells. If you are looking for a vet that offers this service, try searching for "Laser therapy for dogs near Sharpsburg" on your favourite search engine, or contact our vets as we offer cold laser therapy for dogs in Sharpsburg.

Does cold laser therapy work on dogs?

Yes. The veterinary industry has deemed pet laser therapy safe and effective. It can effectively treat diseases, injuries, and conditions such as tissue injuries including strains and sprains and arthritis.

We often use this treatment to supplement other treatment options and give our pet patients an improved outcome. As for benefits, laser therapy can:

  • Decrease nerve sensitivity
  • Enhance circulation
  • Speed the healing process
  • Reduce pain and swelling

In addition, laser therapy does not have any negative side effects and no sedation is required. We also do not need to clip or shave the area being treated.

Continued Care Throughout Recovery

Check your dog's wound at least twice a day to ensure that infection does not set in and that healing is proceeding normally. Clean the wound twice a day with water or a pet-safe antiseptic solution, and contact your veterinarian immediately if the wound becomes inflamed or shows signs of infection.

If you notice increasing redness, swelling, discharge, increasing pain in the area of the wound, or a bad odor coming from the wound, contact your vet right away.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your dog requires veterinary care for a wound or if you need more information, contact our Sharpsburg vets right away.