How to Know If a Dog Wound Is Bad Enough to Go to a Vet?

Cuteness may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.
You may need to take your dog to the vet.
Image Credit: IPGGutenbergUKLtd/iStock/GettyImages

There isn't much that will send a dog owner into an emotional tailspin like a fresh injury on their beloved canine. Many dogs, particularly young or naturally playful and rambunctious canines, end up with cuts and scrapes on their bodies and faces on occasion, and much of the time, it's not cause for too much concern. Sometimes, however, an injury can result in a wound that may be a little deep, and may cause your dog pain. If you're unsure whether to take your dog to the vet after you notice a wound on him, there are a few dog wound infection symptoms to look out for that could either save you a trip to the vet, or save your dog from unnecessary discomfort.


Video of the Day

Seeking medical attention

If you notice a wound on your dog and you're at all on the fence about whether you should take her to your veterinarian for a check up, you certainly can if you're willing and able to do so. However, not all scratches and injuries require medical attention from a professional, and many will either heal on their own or can be easily addressed at home. A bite from another dog may require more concern as dogs' mouths are filled with bacteria, which can contaminate an incision on the skin, especially if the wound runs deep.


Generally, dog wounds to be concerned about include deep cuts or lacerations, burns, any injuries that produce a large amount of blood or won't stop bleeding, or anything that is causing your dog obvious physical pain. Regardless of the severity of the injury, keeping the location clean and possibly treated will give your dog her best shot at an easy recovery.


Dog wound infection symptoms

An infected wound on a dog should almost always be looked at by a veterinarian as oral or topical antibiotic medication may be needed to help your dog get well. If your dog has a wound, there are a few dog wound infection symptoms to look out for, like a swollen area that is tender to the touch, dead skin tissue, the formation of abscesses, redness or swelling, or pus. A foul odor coming from or around the wound site may also indicate that an infection is present.


Infection symptoms commonly appear at the site of the injury, although some signs may manifest in other ways. If your dog is showing signs of weakness, difficulty breathing, pale gums, or if your dog faints or collapses, you should take him to the doctor immediately, says VCA Hospitals. In any event, be sure to keep a close eye on the affected area when your dog becomes injured, both immediately and for the next several days to ensure that the wound is healing naturally and that no signs of infection are present.


At home wound care tips

While you may not have to take your canine in to see a medical professional for minor wounds, keeping the affected area clean should be a priority to prevent possible infections. Preventative Vet recommends stopping any bleeding by using pressure or specially designed products before flushing the wound with a saline flush. Then, disinfect the wound with an antiseptic that's been diluted, like iodine, but avoid applying hydrogen peroxide directly to cuts as it can actually slow down the healing process.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.