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How should I clean a dog wound?

Updated on April 12, 2012

Dog owners know that dealing with dog injuries goes with the territory of having a dog for a pet. Dogs are highly energetic animals thus if you have decided to get one for a pet you need to be ready to face abrasions, cuts, puncture wounds and a lot more other injuries that can result from the dog’s very energetic lifestyle. Dog wise people would always advice new dog owners to get a first aid kit for the dog. A bite wound resulting from a skirmish with another dog, a tail that got caught in a door, a paw wounded by a broken glass, a leg that was slashed open by a barbed wire…all these injuries are ordinary occurrences in the life of a dog. A pet parent has to have basic wound care knowledge to prevent infection.

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Clip the dog’s hair

The wound has to be clearly visible so that the extent of the injury can be easily seen. The hair surrounding the wound must be shaved off. With a blunt tipped scissors carefully trim the hair starting from the edge of the wound going outwards until the wound is surrounded with about a half inch hair-free skin. Hair of long haired breeds must be shortened as well around the site of the wound to prevent the hair from getting into the wound. This will also promote proper air flow. Before clipping the hair, generously cover the wound with petroleum jelly or KY jelly. This will prevent clipped hair from sticking into the wound. After the hair is trimmed remove the jelly with sterile gauze pad. Avoid using cotton as like hair, it will stick to the wound as well.

Clean the wound

Debris and bacteria must be removed from the injury site. Use an antiseptic cleaning solution to clean the wound. If none is available, warm water and antiseptic soap can be used to clean the wound and the area surrounding the wound. Let the water flow over the wound for about two minutes to remove debris and to fully rinse out the soap. Pat the area clean with sterile gauze.

Disinfect the wound

Disinfect the wound with betadine iodine. This orange colored antiseptic will effectively kill bacteria without damaging the tissues unlike hydrogen peroxide. Allow the wound area to air dry.

Treat the wound

Dab antibiotic ointment on the wound. This process must be repeated until the wound is healed. If it is possible, the wound must be left uncovered so as not to inhibit airflow. Uncovered, small wounds would heal nicely. Covering the wound can promote the growth of bacteria. However, dogs have the inclination to lick and worry wounds. This can result to infection. Elizabethan collars or lampshade collars can prevent the dog from licking the wound. Contamination is possible if the wound is on the foot of the pet. Wounds of this kind can be covered with a layer or two of breathable gauze.

Sutures are not necessary for wounds not bigger that an inch. Generally, wounds of this kind would heal naturally. The wound should look better after a few days. But if the wound is getting bigger, it is time to visit a vet.

How to Clean a Wound and Properly Apply a Bandage

Treating Dog Wounds


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    • dogbox profile image

      Josh Tucker 

      6 years ago from Woodson, IL 62695

      My personal recommendation is EMT Gel. You can find out more here

      Also you can make a dog first aid kit, I made one very easy to do and that way when you travel toss it in your truck or car and you are good for common injuries.


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