How To Clean A Dog Wound: Learn The Steps Here
Do you want to know how to apply first aid in case your dog gets a large cut or wound? If you don’t then you should start by knowing how to clean a dog wound. Lucky for you I have compiled the instructional steps and the materials you’ll need below.
My dog is really active so he constantly gets wounds around his legs. After making several trips to the vet, I have picked up the basics of cleaning a dog wound. If you’re ready, let’s get started.
What You’ll Need
- Muzzle (Optional)
- Belt (Optional)
- Electric Clippers
- Sea Salt
- Antiseptic Solution
- Warm Tap Water
- Turkey Baster
- Antibiotic Cream
- Elizabethan Collar
Even if your dog is gentle and sweet, he may bite you to protect himself from so much pain once you apply the medicine. If your dog has a history of biting or begins to growl at you, use a muzzle that fits comfortably on your dog.
Look for models constructed of durable nylon rather than leather and metal because they’re more humane to use. Ideally, a breathable mesh is preferred for comfort. Alternatively, you can wrap a leash or light rope around your pet’s muzzle,
Before you clean a dog wound, you need to address any bleeding issue. A towel comes in handy when stopping the bleeding by applying a direct pressure to the wound. You might also need another towel to apply a tourniquet, but of course, you need to be trained to do it or you’ll risk your dog for more serious complications.
A third towel is needed to flush and disinfect the wound. After you have applied the salt water or antiseptic solution over the wound, get another towel handy for drying. If you can’t find a towel, you can use any absorbent material, like shirt, gauze, washcloth, tissue, or even a feminine pad.
If you must apply a tourniquet on your dog’s wound to control the bleeding, you’ll need a belt to hold it in place. A belt is ideal if the wound is located on the leg of your dog. If you can’t find a belt at the moment, then a leash can be a great alternative.
You’ll need to clear away your dog’s hair to get a good look at the wound. The surrounding hair should be removed so it won’t trap dirt or irritate the exposed flesh. For these reasons, you’ll need some sharp electric clippers.
Electric clippers are only advisable if you know how to use them safely. Regardless of brand, buy a clipper kit specifically made for your dog’s breed. Look for a unit that creates the least amount of noise because your dog can get agitated if it’s loud. If you can’t find any electric clippers anywhere, use a pair of blunt scissors to shorten the hair.
Being a natural antiseptic, salt can help clean and sterilize wounds. Killing the infesting bacteria can inhibit infection and promote faster cell growth. It’s also possible that salt can absorb any fluid discharge, hence dries out the wound faster and speed up the healing process.
In this tutorial, you’ll need about 2 teaspoons of salt to make a saline solution. Salt should be diluted in water because it can be abrasive when used without it. When buying salt, make sure that it’s preservative free and non-iodized.
After you have flushed the wound with the saline solution, you’ll need to disinfect it with any antiseptic solution. You can use Betadine (Povidone Iodine) or Nolvasan. (Chlorhexidine), but I prefer to use the Chlorhexidine because it’s inexpensive, readily available, and highly effective.
Just like any other antiseptic solution, Chlorhexidine can kill bacteria and yeast that are most usually linked with skin infections. Although 4% solutions are widely used, I like to use the 2% solution because it offers less tissue irritation.
You’ll need some warm water to dilute the antiseptic solution or the sea salt. This will reduce the sting of the antiseptic solution and abrasiveness of the salt. To prevent further bacterial infection, use clean filtered or distilled water.
For the saline solution, you’ll need one cup of warm tap water to mix with every 2 teaspoons of sea salt. Since antiseptic solution may burn, dilute one part of it to 10 parts of warm water.
A turkey baster gets in handy when you’ll be flushing the wound with the salt water or antiseptic solution. Rather than pouring the water directly over the wound, using a turkey baster is more convenient as you only have to squirt the mixture gently into the wound. If you don’t have a turkey baster, you can use a syringe without the needle.
Now if the wound is located on the paw, you may not need this instrument. All you need is a bowl to soak the paw of your dog.
A bowl will serve as the place where you’ll mix the water with the salt or antiseptic solution. You can use any type of bowl in your kitchen. If you want to soak the wounded paw of your dog with the salt water or antiseptic solution, then you need a larger bowl to fit the paw.
You’ll need an antibiotic cream to kill the bacteria on the wound. Although human medicine can’t be used to treat canines in most cases, a triple antibiotic cream is an exception.
This antibiotic cream contains three active ingredients: polymyxin B, neomycin, and bacitracin. These three active ingredients work together to kill the most common bacteria found on animal skin. Avoid using ointments with steroids, such as betamethasone or hydrocortisone, because they can hamper the healing process of the wound.
Miconazole ointment, on the other hand, is a good choice if yeast is the main issue. You can tell that the wound is yeast infected if your dog has allergies that develop moist dermatitis.
Dogs have a thing to lick their wounds so to prevent it, you’ll need an Elizabethan collar. Also known as the lampshade, this plastic cone is worn around the neck to keep your dog from licking his wound that’s treated with antimicrobial ointment. The ointment may provide serious side effects when ingested.
Stop The Bleeding
Once you notice that your dog is wounded, the first thing that you’ll need to do is to stop the bleeding. If your dog looks agitated and has a history of biting, put a muzzle on your dog. This will protect you from possible attack once you apply the medicine on his wound.
Use a clean absorbent towel to apply pressure to the wound if the blood keeps on pulsing out of the wound. Hold the towel for 3-5 minutes and check if the bleeding has stopped afterward. You don’t want to keep taking off the pressure because it would restrict the formation of the blood clot.
If the wound is on the leg and is releasing a red arterial blood, a tourniquet may be needed. Put a clean towel on the limb and use a belt to hold it in place. You’ll need to release the tourniquet each 10 minutes to prevent cutting off the circulation.
Clip Away The Hair If Necessary
Once the bleeding has stopped, you can begin cleaning the wound. If your dog has a long coat, then this step is necessary but if not, proceed to step 3.
Use electric clippers to trim away the hair around the wound. You want to clear the hair away because it can get into the open wound and cause infection. The long hair can also get in the way of the medicine. If you don’t have electric clippers, use blunt scissors to trim the hair but don’t get near the skin too much.
If you want some guidance on how to clip the wound of your dog, watch this video.
Flush Out The Wound
If you found some debris in your dog’s wound, it’s advisable that you flush out the wound with saline solution. If not, proceed to step 4.
In a bowl, mix two teaspoons of sea salt and one cup of warm water. Stir it with your finger until the salt fully dissolves.
Next, get your turkey baster and fill it with the saline solution. Squirt the solution into the wound to flush out any debris. Stop flushing the wound once the towel becomes glistening and clear once you pat it dry.
If the wound is on your dog’s paw, you can forget about the turkey baster and use the bowl instead. Soak the paw directly into the bowl of saline solution and keep it there for 3-5 minutes. Dry the paw with a towel.
Apply An Antiseptic Solution
Now, dilute Chlorhexidine or Povidone Iodine in warm water. For fewer burns, dilute one part antiseptic solution to 10 parts warm water in a bowl. Using a pure solution is discouraged because it can damage the tissue.
Apply this diluted antiseptic solution to the wound with a towel by gentle wiping. You can use this diluted solution as a final rinse to your dog’s wound. You can also use it as a final soak for that matter.
Once you’re done, pat the wound dry using any clean towel. Be gentle and never rub or scrub the would because it can cause more pain to your dog.
Apply An Antimicrobial Ointment
Gently apply the antimicrobial ointment into the dog’s wound. Once done, remove the muzzle and prevent your pet from the licking the wound for at least 10 minutes. You can let your dog wear the Elizabethan collar to stop him from licking his wound.
If you don’ have an Elizabethan collar, you can keep your dog preoccupied by taking him for a walk.
Repeat 2-3 Times A Day
You can keep repeating the whole process 2-3 times a day. Flush the wound with any debris if necessary. Apply the antiseptic solution and antimicrobial ointment no longer than a week. If the wound worsens, consult your veterinarian.
Unless advised by your veterinarian, never use antifungal creams like Clotrimazole.
When To See A Veterinarian?
If you notice any signs of infection, take your pet to the veterinarian. Such signs of infection include a foul smell or colored discharge (yellow, green, or gray).
If the wound is more superficial and looks severe, the vet is the right man for the job. All wounds that pierce through the skin, tendon, or muscle need an expert evaluation. If the wound is deep, stitches may be done to promote faster healing.
Now animal bites can’t be treated at home. You’ll need a vet to administer an anesthesia. Animal’s mouth may contain bacteria so the risk of infection is pretty high if left untreated.
You need to seek a veterinarian’s help if the wound is near his eye. There is a high probability that the eyeball can be injured so you need to be vigilant about it. Finally, you’ll want to take your dog to the vet if his wound won’t stop bleeding after 20 minutes.
Did you enjoy reading the steps on how to clean a dog wound? I know it may be difficult to deal with your wounded dog but knowing these steps will buy you time to get him to the vet immediately. Proper wound cleaning will inhibit infection and may even promote a faster healing process.
If you’ve tried cleaning the wound of your dog, tell us how it went in the comments section. You can share this article with your friends if you find this article helpful.