How to Remove Pet Stitches?

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Removing stitches from your pet is generally a pretty easy process.
Image Credit: Thirawatana Phaisalratana/iStock/GettyImages

Removing stitches from your pet is generally a pretty easy process. It's usually not much harder than snipping the thread with scissors and gently pulling them out. However, you should be sure that your pet's wound is fully healed and that you have the go-ahead from the vet to remove the stitches yourself.


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Dog stitches removal cost

Sometimes people want to remove stitches themselves because of the dog stitches removal cost. It generally requires a final visit to the veterinarian to be sure the wound is healed. If you remove them yourself, you might be able to avoid this cost, but it is important that you remove the stitches at the right time and in a way that doesn't cause your dog or cat any further harm.


Veterinarians generally charge their normal hourly rate plus a visit charge for stitches removal. This price varies quite a bit based on the location of the veterinarian. Before your dog gets her stitches out, the veterinarian will examine the wound or incision to make sure it is healed.


Stitches removal

According to VCA Hospitals, pet stitches are generally only left in for 10 to 14 days, but it does depend on the extent of the injury. Do not attempt to remove the stitches if the skin has not sufficiently grown back together or if there are any signs of infection such as oozing pus, a foul odor, a thin red line running in any direction away from the site, or excessive redness or swelling.


If your dog wound opened after the stitches were removed, get it checked out. It could mean that an infection has developed, or that the stitches were removed too soon.

Dog bath after stitches removed

VCA Hospitals echoes the advice that most animal health care experts give, which is not to give a dog a bath after stitches are removed. You do not want to allow the incision to get wet. You also don't want to put anything on the stitches like cream, unless you are instructed to by your care provider. Cleaning with anything like hydrogen peroxide or alcohol is especially not recommended.


If your dog is scratching or licking her wound or pulling at the stitches, this can delay healing. It can also mean that your dog may pull the stitches out herself. Do not allow your dog to lick or scratch at the incision, as there is a danger that the dog may pull out the stitches or may introduce an infection into the incision.


Steps for removing stitches

If you want to try removing the stitches at home, here's a good way to approach it. Find a time when your dog is calm. He will need to be held still, so you don't want to approach him at a time when he's feeling active. Perhaps use a muzzle to keep him from barking or biting, wrap a towel around him, and ask someone to help you hold him still.


Hold him firmly under one arm with the head secured like a football, or if he is a large dog, lay him on his side and hold him down across his upper torso and neck. Hold his back legs down if he continues to struggle. Slip the scissors under one of the sutures and gently but firmly and quickly cut the suture. Repeat this step with the remaining sutures.


If need be, give your pet a break before going back for the other stitches. Pull the end of the suture where the knot is located. The suture should slip out of the skin. If not, use tweezers to pull it out.

Cleaning up after stitches removal

Ensuring the wound is completely healed and closed, clean any dried blood or dirt away from the incision site using a cotton ball dipped in hydrogen peroxide. Check the incision daily for the next two to three days to make sure your pet has not irritated it by licking or chewing.

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.