Dog Cuts and Bruises - Basic First Aid for your DogThis is only a guide for basic first aid for your Dog. You should immediately takeyour Dog to the Vet if - It has been involved in a Road accident (it may have internal injuries) It has been attacked by a large animal (there is a danger of internal injuries & infection from bites) If it has puncture wounds of any kind If it has respiratory distress or swelling in the mouth (May indicate an allergic reaction) If it is bitten by a Snake. If you suspect it has been bitten by a rabid animalIf in doubt, consult a Vet immediately.Its necessary to be prepared for first aid activities - a first aid kit will be required.There are many first aid kits for Pets available for sale on the Internet. Make it apriority to have one available to treat your Dog when necessary.Everyday cuts, bruises & stingsMinor injuriesDogs, like people, incur injuries all the time. For the majority of minor injuries, littleif any intervention is necessary since the Dog will clean the wound itself by licking it,and its saliva contains a mild antiseptic. You should however thoroughly check yourDog at regular intervals to look for injuries which are infected and likely to pose anongoing problem. Also check your Dog after vigorous activities - Ball Games,playing with other Dogs etc are likely to provoke injuries. Regular checks will alsoreveal problems with Ticks, and problems with exposure to certain seed types whosebarbs can penetrate the skin and cause infection. Always check between your Dogstoes.If you live in area in which Ticks are prevalent, check you Dog daily, especiallyaround the head, around the eyes, inside folds in the skin & inside the ears - Ticks cancarry a disease which can kill your Dog. When removing Ticks use a Tick removaldevice - dont just pull them off as this will leave the head of the Tick embedded inthe Dogs flesh and cause infection.CutsThe priorities for wounds are to control bleeding and to prevent infection. Wounds arepainful - muzzle or restrain your Dog prior to treating them. If the wound has alreadystopping bleeding do not treat it - you will possibly start the bleeding again.Where possible expose the wound with a set of clippers to remove the fur.Any cut longer than 1/2" will need to be sutured by a Veterinary surgeon.
Gently clean the wound, using a sterile gauze pad soaked with a mild non stingingantiseptic or saline solution. As you clean check the wound for foreign bodies. (Glass,dirt etc.) & continue washing out the wound until it is clean. You may need to usetweezers to remove some of the foreign material. After cleaning, apply a clean flannelsoaked in cold water for 15 minutes and then apply a gauze pad and bandage this inplace. This dressing must be changed at regular intervals to allow inspection &cleaning of the wound. If, when changing the dressing, you see pus oozing from thewound or if the wound will not stop bleeding you must take the Dog to the Vet.Most cuts are on the Paws or Legs of your Dog - Do not bandage the dressing in placetoo tightly as you risk cutting off circulation to the lower part of the limb. Afterbandaging, check that the part of the limb below the bandage is not abnormally cool& not swollen. If it is, loosen the bandage.BruisesTreat bruises with an ice pack wrapped in a Towel. A pack of frozen peas works well.Chilling the area around the bruise will increase blood flow and thereby promotehealing. Apply for 10 minutes 3 times a day until the swelling subsides. Whenapplying the ice pack get your Dog in a relaxed mood by giving them a cuddle & thenapply the pack by hand. Do not apply too much pressure & mould the Ice pack to thecontours of the bruise.StingsDogs are curious and will investigate insects. Wasps Bees and Hornets can inflictstings, usually to the face. The usual symptoms of a sting are that the Dog will yelpwith pain, and either lick or use its paws to rub the affected area. If you see thisbehaviour, investigate & find the sting. The area around the sting will be red andswollen. The sting may still be embedded in the Dogs flesh.A single sting normally will not bother a dog too much but multiple stings can causeallergic reactions. Watch your dog closely after it has been stung for signs ofabnormal behaviour. If the Dog seems unwell, take it to the Vet.Stings to the mouth & tongue are dangerous as they can cause swelling and blockageof airways, if this happens its best to immediately take your Dog to the Vet fortreatment.Treat stings with an icepack to relieve pain & swelling and remove the sting withtweezers if still present.Major InjuriesSnake bitesDog are often victims of Snake Bites due to their inquisitive nature. Since Snakes areretiring animals, snake bites usually occur when a Dog surprises the Snake byaccident. Most snake bites tend to occur in the summer months when the snakes aremore active due to the warm weather
Dogs are usually bitten on the face and limbs but bites can occur on any part of thebody. Snake bites are very painful & you should suspect a Snake bite when your Dogyelps with pain & tries lick the wound or rub it with its paws. If you see thisbehaviour, check the Dog for the tell-tale double puncture wound starting with theface and limbs.To be on the safe side, treat all Snake bites as venomous - There is no first aidtreatment for your Dog that you can perform after Snake bite - take your Dog to theVet immediately.Road accidentsYou must take your Dog to the Vet after immediately after a road accident - there maybe internal bleeding that you cannot see even if your Dog seems fine. If there iscopious external bleeding after the accident you must do what you can to stem theflow to prevent serious blood loss. You can do this in two ways - a pressure bandageor a tourniquet. Use what you have with you to form a pressure bandage, ahandkerchief or even your shirt or blouse, form a Pad and press it to the wound tostem the blood flow. If this does not work, it may be necessary to form a tourniquet, ifpractical. Tourniquets are used to stop the blood flow above a wound, completelyrestricting the flow of blood. They should be used as a short term measure only. Theyconsist of a tight band applied 2-3 inches above a wound to completely stop the bloodflow. They are normally only practical when applied to a limb. Tourniquets must beloosened periodically to allow the limb to receive blood to avoid tissue damage. In anemergency situation youll need to improvise a Tourniquet from whatever you havewith you -form a rope, twist it tightly around the limb, above the injury until the bloodflow stops. After a Road accident do what you can to stem the blood flow and getthe Dog to a Vet as fast as possible.Allergic reactionsDog can have life threatening allergic reactions not just to Bee & Wasp stings, butalso to other insects and certain spiders. The Processionary caterpillar, nowwidespread in Europe, poses a particular threat to your Dog. The defence mechanismof this insect consists of barbed hairs, which if they come into contact with your Dogsmouth will induce itching, swelling and possibly vomiting & a life threateningallergic reaction.If you see symptoms of a swollen tongue or lips or if your Dogs face is swollen take itto the vet immediately.PreventionIn the HomeKeep your Dog away from accidental breakages in the home. Curious Dogs will try toeat broken Glass!In the GardenRemove any broken glass, broken flower pots, or other sharp objects. Dont leavetools with sharp edges lying around where you Dog can run into them. Get any Wasp
or Hornet nests removed. Keep your Dog away from windfalls around fruit trees -there is a danger of Wasp or Horner stings.Out walkingIts best to walk your Dog on a Leash for the majority of the time, only letting him runfree in areas known to be safe from Snakes & other animal hazards. Avoid long grassif possible, to prevent Ticks attaching to your Dog. Dont let your Dog off the leadnear roads - Dogs & cars don’t mix!Lesley Rootham raises Beagles & makes Show Dog Collars & Show Dog Collars andLeads in Wales UK.