Treating Dog Wounds

This page looks at how to treat wounds such as stopping bleeding, dressing the wound, and using natural remedies such as herbs, homeopathy, and nutritional supplements to strengthen the dog's immune system in order to promote wound healing.

Wounds can be classified as either open (i.e. a break in the skin) or closed (e.g. a bruise).

The skin protects your dog's body from toxins and bacteria from entering his body. However, when your dog is wounded and the skin is broken, bacteria and other harmful organisms can gain access into the body, causing infection.

It is not uncommon for your dog to get wounded once in a while. Small wounds usually heal on their own. However, larger open wounds can cause blood loss and infection, making your dog more vunerable to a variety of health threats. It is therefore important to learn how to treat dog wounds.

Treating Open Wounds in Dogs

Puppy If your dog has an open wound, chances are he is bleeding. It is therefore important to first determine how serious the bleeding is and whether a trip to the emergency veterinary clinic is warranted.

  • Assess Severity of Bleeding

    In general, if you see a wound that is spurting blood or the blood is coming out in pulses, it is extremely serious and an immediate trip to the emergency veterinary clinic is warranted.

    If blood is flowing or dripping out from the wound, the bleeding is still considered to be very serious and an immediate trip to your vet is necessary.

    If blood is oozing or seeping out, the wound is usually not so deep and can be treated at home.

  • Stop the Bleeding

    If your dog is bleeding profusely, try to stop the bleeding by applying direct pressure with a sterile gauze pad or a clean towel.

    Some people tend to keep lifting the towel or gauze to check on the wound and the bleeding. Don't! Otherwise, it will be difficult for the blood to clot. Similarly, DO NOT remove the towel or gauze even if it is soaked with blood. Just continue to add more gauze or towels on top of the soaked ones.

    You should also elevate the bleeding source so that it is above the level of your dog's heart.

    For severe bleeding, you need to apply direct pressure to the arteries that supply the wounded area. These pressure points are located at the upper inside (armpit) of the front legs, the upper inside of the hind legs and the underside of the tail.

    Only use a tourniquet as a last resort or on the advice of a vet or human doctor.

  • Clean the Wound

    If the open wound is not serious enough to warrant a trip to the vet, you need to clean the wound once bleeding has stopped.

    First, use a pair of scissors to trim the hair surrounding the wound. Dipping the scissors in mineral oil before cutting the hair will cause the hair to stick to the scissors instead of falling into the wound. If hair trimming is made difficult by crusted blood and debris on the wound, try to soften this material with warm water and soft toweling. Blot the area gently.

    Once the hair has been trimmed and the entire wound revealed, flush it well with a sterile saline solution. If you have herbal tinctures of calendula and St.-John's wort on hand, make an herbal saline solution:

    Boil a cup of water to sterilize it. Let cool. Add 10 drops each of the tinctures of Calendula and St John's Wort plus one-fourth teaspoon of table salt. Use a syringe to gently flush out the wound.

    Finally, disinfect the wound by gently dabbing the area with sterile gauze that has been soaked in hydrogen peroxide.

  • Dress the Wound

    Spread a thin coat of calendula ointment on one side of a non-stick pad and apply it directly to the wound. Using a roll of cotton gauze or bandage, trap the pad against the skin and wrap the gauze around the body part in a manner that will keep the pad in place. Be careful not to wrap the gauze too tightly, otherwise blood circulation will be cut off. Changing the bandage once a day and keeping the wound clean will help the healing.

Treating Bruises

If dog wounds are accompanied by a lot of bruising (such as in bite wounds), use the homeopathic remedy Arnica to ease the bruises. It is very effective. Just give your dog two pellets of Arnica (30C) once or twice on the day of the injury.

Boosting the Dog's Immune System

To help dog wounds heal properly, it is important to supply the body with extra nutrients and boost the immune system. Here is what you can give to your dog:

  • Echinacea: Echinacea is an effective immune-boosting herb. You can get a tincture of the herb and give your dog five drops per ten pounds, two to three times a day.
  • Vitamin C: Vitamin C is an immune-booster as well as an antioxidant. It can prevent infections. Give your dog about 5-10 mg/pound, two to three times a day for two to five days.
  • Pancreatic Enzymes: Pancreatic enzymes such as Bio Zyme can help your dog digest his food more thoroughly and get more micronutrients into the bloodstream to help replenish the blood loss as well as to help the body fight infection.