![if IE]> <![endif]>
No dog owner wants to think of their pooch in pain. Unfortunately, dog paw wounds and other skin wounds are all too common. While bumps, scrapes, and breaks happen, they can get worse if not properly treated. Fortunately, you can learn how to wrap a dog’s paw and take care of their wound or get it protected before seeking professional care.
A safe, clean, and properly applied bandage may be very important in the healing process and could prevent an infection. Properly applying a bandage might help prevent bleeding and additional injury, along with providing some pain relief for your dog.
If you’ve never had to treat a dog wound or injury, learning some basic pet first aid tips and putting together a doggy first aid kit is a good place to start. The following items can help with dog wound care and are a good idea to include in your pet first aid kit:1
Read on for more tips on how to clean, bandage, and care for dog wounds.
If you can see a swollen dog paw or if your dog is limping, bleeding, or showing signs of any other injury, you can use the following instructions to care for the wound until you can see your veterinarian:2
Regardless, it’s a good idea to schedule a vet visit to get the wound examined, ideally within 3 days of injury.2 Your vet can take a closer look at the wound and prescribe medication, like antibiotics and painkillers, to help speed up the healing process.
Once the wound has been cleaned the next step is to bandage it:2
Make sure the bandage isn’t too tightly wrapped — you should be able to fit two fingers between the bandage and your pup’s body. Dog bandages should be changed frequently according to your vet’s instructions. This helps the wound remain clean and free of bacteria. If your dog fiddles with or chews on their bandage, there are anti-lick sprays available to help curb this behavior.
While adhesive tape, non-stick bandages, and gauze are great items you can use to dress your dog’s wound, you may not always have access to them the moment an injury happens. In a pinch, you can use clean cotton t-shirts to protect your dog's wound until you can get proper bandaging in place.
You may be able to put certain products on specific dog wounds to help keep it clean and heal — like applying honey on hot spots. However, some products can delay healing, damage tissues, or be toxic to dogs, so it’s best to consult with your vet to determine what’s safe to use. You may be able to use saline solution, warm water, diluted chlorhexidine, iodine solutions, or surgical soap to keep wounds clean.3
Your vet may prescribe topical medication to help promote wound closure, reduce pain, or prevent infection.4 While using Neosporin for dogs may seem like a good idea to help prevent topical infection, your dog could have an allergic reaction to it.5
Keeping the bandage on your dog can prove to be quite challenging, even if you have followed the suggested steps correctly. To keep the bandage in place, here are a couple of tips to consider:
The type of wound your dog has can dictate how you need to care for it after you see your vet. Here are some tips on how to care for open and closed wounds.
Sometimes wounds are left open for treatment or because they can’t be surgically closed.3 This could be because of the placement on your dog’s body like an eye injury or a bite wound high on their leg. Your vet will give you specific instructions to follow, but here are some aftercare tips for open wounds:3
If the wound needed surgery to close it, or the wound was an incision as a result of a procedure (like an ACL surgery), you’ll need to know how to take care of it when your pup gets home from the vet. Here are some aftercare tips for closed wounds:6
If your dog’s stitches open, it’s best to call your vet — you may have to go back in to get the stitches redone so the healing process can continue.6
Whether a wound heals normally or it becomes an infected dog wound, the healing stages are important to know so you can spot when something could be off. A dog wound typically goes through these four stages when it’s healing:7
Generally, surgical wounds with sutures can heal much faster because there’s no gap in the skin that needs to be filled in with new tissue.7 However, certain health conditions can slow down the healing process — like anemia or malnutrition — so talk to your vet to get an idea of how long it may take for your dog to fully heal.4
During your pup’s healing process they may be in some pain. Your vet may prescribe specific pain relief medication or tell you what you can give your dog for pain, like baby aspirin or veterinary nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
An injury is bad enough, but an infection can make matters much worse. As the wound goes through the healing stages, inspect the condition of it. Look for swelling, discoloration, a liquid discharge, or a foul odor — any of these could indicate an infection or compromised blood circulation.2 If untreated, both could become permanent damage. That’s why it’s so important to consult your vet as soon as something seems off.
Infection can happen during the first three stages of healing since the wound is not fully healed.8 Keeping the wound clean and changing bandages often can help reduce the risk of infection. But if an infection does occur, your vet will likely treat it with antibiotics so the healing process can resume.7
Cleaning and bandaging your dog’s wound at home isn’t likely to cost an arm and a leg — especially if it’s something small like a bee sting or a scrape in which you can get a quick consultation with your veterinarian over the phone. Vet visits are another matter because wound treatment and repair could run you between $800 and $2,500.9
No pet parent wants a bill to get in the way of the treatment their furry family needs. With a dog insurance policy, you could be reimbursed for up to 100% of the cost of emergency treatment.10 With award-winning11 MetLife Pet Insurance, you can customize your plan to meet your unique needs. Get a free quote today.
1 “Dog First-Aid Kit Essentials,” American Kennel Club
2 “First Aid for Torn or Injured Foot Pads in Dogs,” VCA Animal Hospitals
3 “Care of Open Wounds in Dogs,” VCA Animal Hospitals
4 “Wound Management,” Merck Veterinary Manual
5 “Can You Use Neosporin on Dogs?,” American Kennel Club
6 “Care of Surgical Incisions in Dogs,” VCA Animal Hospitals
7 “Wound Healing,” Mar Vista Animal Medical Center
8 “The Healing Stages of a Dog Wound,” Veterycin® Animal Wellness
9 “Pet Emergency Statistics and Veterinary Costs,” Preventive Vet
10 Provided all terms of the policy are met. Application is subject to underwriting review and approval. Like most insurance policies, insurance policies issued by IAIC and MetGen contain certain deductibles, co-insurance, exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force. For costs, complete details of coverage and exclusions, and a listing of approved states, please contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC.
11 “2022 Pet Insurance of the Year Award” Winners, Pet Independent Innovation Awards
Coverage underwritten and issued by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 11333 N Scottsdale Rd, Ste 160, Scottsdale, AZ 85254 or Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886. Coverage subject to restrictions, exclusions and limitations. Application is subject to underwriting review. See policy or contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC for details. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator for this coverage. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois).