How Care of Open Wounds in Dogs

This article is about the care of minor and serious wounds in dogs.


If you have a dog, you will probably have to deal with an occasional injury that will require first aid.

It is always better to be prepared for these situations by having a well-stocked first aid kit available. Some of the items that you should keep in the kit are scissors, an ace bandage, antiseptic or antiseptic towelettes, Benadryl, Bacitracin, or any triple antibiotic ointment, gauze pads, clean hand towels, tweezers, an instant ice pack, and tape.

Remember that when an animal is injured they may bite at you when you are trying to care for their injuries. Keep a muzzle available in case you need it. Even very gentle and friendly pets will bite when they are hurt or scared.

For minor injuries such as scratches and small cuts, clean the wound well with warm water and soap. Dry the wound well and apply antiseptic or Bacitracin ointment. Watch the wound for the next several days for any signs of infection. If the wound gets infected you will need to see the vet. Signs of infection are fever and redness and swelling of the area of the injury. If you think that your dog cut is infected you should call the vet. The vet will probably want to put the dog on an antibiotic to keep the infection under control. In some cases, an infection can turn into an abscess and require draining.

There are also many aloe vera products available which can be very healing and soothing to minor wounds. The wonderful thing about aloe vera is that it penetrates through all the layers of the skin and begins the healing process from the inside out. It is also non-toxic to pets so it won’t hurt them if they lick it off.

Bite wounds from other animals

Bites from other animals are very serious. They can cause a lot of damage and a serious infection. The only thing that you should do at home is to clean the bite with warm soap and water and cover the area and transport it to the vet as soon as possible. If you have an instant ice pack available, you could apply it to the wound to make your dog more comfortable.

More serious wounds

Sometimes a cut is serious to cause enough blood loss to put the dog in shock. Some symptoms of shock are pale gums, rapid breath, drop in body temperature, and unconsciousness. It’s very importantly if you think that your dog has gone into shock to get him to the vet as soon as possible if he is to recover. Sometimes the effects of a dog going in shock can be more serious than the injury itself. The bleeding must be stopped with direct pressure if possible. Hold several layers of clean cloth or towels over the wound. Hold constant direct pressure on the wound for about ten to fifteen minutes. After this time has passed, let the pressure off but leave the cloth in place. If the bleeding has slowed enough to transport the dog to the vet you should do so very carefully. Try to keep the dog calm if you can until you arrive at the vet.

If your dog has been hit by a car there may be many cuts, abrasions, and wounds. Some of the injuries could be minor and some may be more serious. Shock is very likely and time is precious in these cases. Don’t take the time to treat the minor injuries. Stop any major bleeding and transport your dog to the nearest animal hospital as soon as possible.