As any person knows, splinters can be very uncomfortable and this is true for our canine friends as well. Unfortunately, a splinter cannot be ignored as it can turn into an infection which will cause the dog more pain and even loss of tissue. Your dog may not like the removal process, but once it is removed it will feel a lot better and it will be worth the pain!
The symptoms of a splinter are the same in a dog as they are in a person. You’ll find that there is a piece of wood or something under the skin. It will cause pain, redness, and even swelling in a localized area. If the splinter is not treated you may find that there is red streaking extending out from the wound, which can indicate blood poisoning and serious health problems for your dog. You may find that the splinter causes your dog to lick or bite the area incessantly in an attempt to relieve the discomfort.
Preventing splinters is not always possible as dogs will be dogs and every now and again they will catch a wood surface just right. Generally, you should make sure that your dog does not play on any rough surfaces such as a rotting deck or jump on a fence that is rotting. You should also ensure that your dog is not chewing on sticks or wood toys. Even when you take these precautions you may not be able to avoid your dog getting splinters, but it will make it less likely.
To treat splinters they must be removed from the skin. You may want to start by soaking the infected area in warm water, which will soften the skin and make it easier to get the splinter out of the skin. Place your fingertips on either side of the splinter and squeeze, as this will often allow for the splinter to come right out. If this doesn’t work, you may need to take a sanitized needle and a pair of tweezers and actually make a small hole in the skin where the splinter is. You can often squeeze the area now and the splinter will come out of the skin, or you can pick it up out of the hole with the use of the tweezers.
If you have tried to get the splinter out and you have not had any luck you may need to give it a few days. Often the body will push the splinter out on its own. Just watch it carefully and make sure that it doesn’t begin to swell, become red, or infected. If it does not work its way out in a few days or it starts to show signs of infection you may need to put in a call to the veterinarian to have it removed by a professional.