Using basic wound care, you can easily treat your dog's minor wounds, including cuts, tears and punctures, if they're minor.
The following signs indicate that the wound is serious enough that it should be treated by a vet, or that there may be other injuries requiring urgent care.
Use this dog first aid for wounds that are open and bleeding, deep wounds, and bite wounds.
If any of these signs apply, do whatever you need to stabilize him for transport to the vet clinic. Do not waste time using basic wound care to tend to minor scratches and cuts. The clinic staff will treat his serious injuries first, and then will tend to the cuts.
The best way to treat minor scratches, tears and punctures is with the "clip and clean" method of basic wound care. This involves clipping the hair from around the wound and then washing it with an antiseptic solution.
The simple method of basic wound care is very useful for quickly assessing the wound, thoroughly cleaning it, and applying a bandage that stays where it should. As a bonus, your dog's wound will heal faster if it's not covered by damp or dirty hair.
You'll need the following supplies from your first aid kit or from around the house.
The following basic wound care instructions are brief and easy to follow. Your pet first aid book should have these or similar instructions.
If not, copy these instructions onto a recipe card and add it to your first aid kit for easy reference.
If the wound is small, you can leave it uncovered; it will heal nicely on its own. Cover larger wounds with gauze pads and tape them to the shaved or clipped skin.
If your dog can't reach the wound, place some antiseptic ointment on it. He'll likely eat the ointment from any wound his tongue can reach.
To ensure fast and complete healing, follow up with a gentle cleaning once or twice a day. Use gauze pads soaked in some fresh, diluted antiseptic solution.
If the wound does not appear to be healing properly (if it feels hot or swollen, or appears to be more painful for your dog that it was at first), call your vet for advice.
As I mentioned earlier, this method of basic wound care is simple and easy to follow. If you're unsure of your abilities, you might want to "practice" on your dog a couple of times. Rather than clipping or shaving the hair, practice on the belly where there is little hair.
If you're still not comfortable with these basic wound care procedures after some practice, or you're unsure about your skill in judging minor and serious wounds, ask your vet if she'll give you some pointers.