What Should I Do If My Dog Gets a Cut?

Dogs are adventurous creatures, which means they get into all sorts of trouble when they're hanging out in the yard, playing with other pups, or going on walks. Sometimes, your dog may see something he wants to try and catch and he'll bolt, not caring what kind of terrain he has to run over or noticing what environment he's in.

Medical treatment of pet concept: bandaging a dog's paw
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While your dog's curiosity isn't normally an issue, it can turn into one if he accidentally hurts himself and gets a cut. Depending on the severity of the cut, you might be able to treat the wound with some simple home care and avoid having to go to the veterinarian.

If your dog gets a cut, here are the steps you should take to ensure he heals swiftly.

Observe the cut

When your dog gets injured, look at the damage that was done. See if the cut is bleeding. If you start applying pressure to the cut with a clean towel and the bleeding won't stop, that is a sign that there is something serious going on. You'll need to take your dog to the vet immediately for further care. Unfortunately, your dog may need surgery and medicine in order to halt the bleeding.

Along with the bleeding, you'll also want to look for signs of infection, which include pus, redness, a bad smell, and swelling, and behavioral changes in your dog like lethargy, a loss of appetite, and a fever. It's always better to be safe than sorry, so you should give your vet a quick call just to describe the cut before you decide not to go in and to treat it yourself.

Treat the cut

After applying pressure to the cut with the clean towel and making sure the bleeding has stopped, you can treat your dog's cut. Wipe any blood away from the actual cut and the area surrounding it with another warm, clean towel. Take a little bit of hydrogen peroxide and dab it on the cut. Do not do this repeatedly, as it can be irritating to your dog. If he has a temper, grab someone to help you with this step, as the stinging could cause him to lash out.

human bandage a shetland sheepdog in bathroom
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After you apply the hydrogen peroxide, put some triple antibiotic ointment on it. If the cut is on a leg, paw, or somewhere else you can easily wrap, feel free to bandage it up. Don't wrap the bandage too tightly, as it can irritate your pup and lead to a decrease in blood flow to the wound. This will also make it harder for the cut to heal fast.

Clean the cut once a day and monitor how long it's taking to heal. If it seems to be healing too slowly, contact your veterinarian for some medical advice.

Prevent further injury

You should watch your dog to ensure he's not licking his cut. Licking can increase the chance of infection and result in further pain. You can swing by the vet or buy an Elizabethan collar, which will stop your dog from licking.

If you need to take your dog to the vet for any reason, make sure you follow the vet's instructions when it comes to wound care and administering medicine.

veterinarian bandaging injured dog
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To prevent your dog from getting another cut, invest in a good slip leash for walks so he can't chase after things. If the injury occurred in the yard, clean up the area and clear out any sharp sticks or branches. You may also want to invest in hiring a dog trainer who will teach your pup to exercise restraint and not go wild in certain situations.