Heat Burns

April 12, 2012

Dogs are generally afraid of fire and most would instinctively stay away from heat. Dogs would seldom sustain burns from open fires. However accidents that causes the dog to be burned still happen. The fur keeps the dog warm and provides protection for the skin. However, hot oil or hot water can seep through the fur and scald the dog. Unfortunately, the dog is not capable of telling you where the burn is located and how seriously he is burned. The fur will also mask the injuries sustained by the dog. A burn, especially if severe would need immediate medical attention. First aid treatment would alleviate the pain and discomfort of the dog.

Symptoms

Burn injuries are pretty uncommon in dogs. Mild burn injuries on the footpads may be sustained if the dog is walked on very hot pavement. If the dog has come in contact with flames the fur will be singed. In superficial or first degree burns there will be redness of the affected skin and swelling. Hair will not pull out easily because the hair follicles were not damaged. The affected part will be painful when touched.

A dog that was scalded with hot oil or boiling water may sustain second degree or third degree burns. A second degree burn is characterized by intense pain and the formation of blisters. There will be swelling and the affected skin may turn dry and tan in color.

Deep burns or third degree burn is certainly an emergency situation as the dog may go into shock. The skin will appear white or black if charred. A deep skin burn would cause the hair to be pulled easily. This is a sign that the skin and the hair follicles were damaged. If 15% of the body is burned, fluid will leak from the affected area. Severe cases of burns would most likely send the dog in shock. This is a coping mechanism that deadens the intense pain. However, this may also cause the shutting down of blood flow to the brain and to the extremities. Another reason why the dog will not feel any pain is because the nerve endings were severely damaged thus causing numbness.

Prevention

Superficial burn on the footpad of the dog can be avoided by making sure that the asphalt or the pavement is not hot. This can be done easily by testing the pavement with your barefoot. Some owners may not consider the fact that walking the dog in the early hours of the evening when the temperature of the pavement is still be over 160°F can cause the foot pads to be burned. If the dog will be walked during this time at least make sure that your pet’s feet are protected with booties.

No matter how much you try to keep the home and the yard dog safe, accidents still happen. Obviously the most feasible idea is to know the first aid treatment that can be applied to lessen the pain suffered by the pet.

Treatment

First degree or superficial burn can be treated at home and do not necessarily require a vet’s attention. First off is to clip the hair in the affected area so that the affected skin will be seen. Be careful not to clip too closely to the skin. Flush cool water on the affected area for 15 minutes. Limbs, tail and other body parts are better emerged in water. Cool water will lower the heat on the affected area and prevent more damage to occur on the deeper tissues. Pat dry the area with a soft towel. Take care not to rub the affected area. Aloe Vera is a good home remedy for burns; it can be applied in the burned area. Do not apply ointments, grease or butter as these will keep the heat on the burned area creating further damage to the tissues.

Second and third degree burns is certainly an emergency situation that will need medical attention. But the burned area should be cooled as soon as possible. Soak clean cloth or towel with cool water and apply to the burned area. The affected area must be continuously soaked with cool water while the dog is being transported to the clinic. Honey or Karo syrup applied to the gums of the dog would keep him conscious.

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