How should I clean a wound?

April 13, 2012

Any dog owner would tell you that caring for these adorable four legged and furry friends is not so different from caring for a hyperactive child. A dog is always on the go – always into something. Let loose a dog and it would immediately sprint outdoors uncaring of thorny plants, sharp rocks, glass shards and any other objects that can perforate or lacerate the skin. A thorough examination conducted regularly is very necessary so that wounds and other signs of trouble can be spotted early on. As with any other health conditions, prompt administration of treatment and correct management of the condition spells the difference between fast recovery and the deterioration of the situation that can endanger the life of the pet.

Given the exuberant nature of dogs, owners would be faced with the need to deal with simple and not too simple injuries from time to time. Dealing with an open wound gushing with blood can be scary. This situation certainly calls for a vet’s attention. Open wounds, broken bones sustained by a dog hit by a car would need medical attention as well. Wounds that appear to be hot and swollen can be infected already. The dog would need veterinary attention for these cases. Minor cuts, scrapes and punctures can be treated at home if the pet parent has a fair amount of basic wound care. A dog owner has to know how to clean and treat dog wounds. Even a fair amount of know-how will save the pet from a lot of pain and prevent the injury from worsening. Minor wounds treated at home will of course save the pet parent from paying exorbitant vet bills.

The dog’s wound has to be cleaned to prevent infection and to promote healing. Most superficial cuts, abrasions and other minor wounds would heal on their own – that is if infection was prevented. Basic wound care entails clipping and cleaning. The hair surrounding the wound has to be shaved off or trimmed to about half an inch from the edges of the wound. Shorten long hair around the wound to prevent it from getting stuck in the wound. This has to be done to prevent the hair from contaminating the wound. Clipping the hair would be necessary especially for long haired breeds to promote proper airflow in the wound area. Before clipping the hair it would be a good idea to smear petroleum jelly or KY jelly over the wound to prevent clipped hair from sticking into the wound. Wipe the petroleum jelly with a sterile gauze pad. Mix a little amount of wound cleaner with water and with a disposable syringe use the solution to irrigate the wound. If no antiseptic solution is available, about ½ teaspoon of salt dissolved in warm water would do in a pinch. An antibacterial soap can be used to wash the wound and the surrounding area. Then thoroughly irrigate the wound until you are sure that no debris was left. With a paper towel or sterile gauze, pat the wound dry. Refrain from using towels as the wound can be contaminated by bacteria in the towel. Apply an antibiotic treatment to the wound. To inhibit bacteria growth, the wound must be left uncovered. The dog must be prevented from licking the wound as well thus for wounds that can be easily licked by the dog, it would be best to cover the wound with breathable rolled gauze. Another option is to leave the wound open but to let the dogs wear a “lampshade” collar. With these treatments, the wound should look good after a few days. If not, head to an animal hospital – this time, a vet’s attention will be extremely necessary.

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