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What are Burns and Scalds?

While the extent and severity of a burn may take up to 14 days to be seen, being aware of the symptoms of a burn, as well as the things your dog comes into contact with, can clue you in to a possible problem. Too much sun exposure, a chewed electrical cord, or blow drying can all burn your dog. Treatment can heal a burn or scald, depending on the intensity of the burn, and how quickly medical attention is sought.

Burns and scalds in dogs are caused by heat, radiation, electric shocks, and chemicals. They can vary in intensity from mild to severe, and can cause secondary conditions, such as infections, dehydration, and even renal failure. This is why they require immediate attention from a trained professional.

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Burns and Scalds Average Cost

From 282 quotes ranging from $300 - $4,000

Average Cost

$1,500

Symptoms of Burns and Scalds in Dogs

Symptoms to look for when your dog has a burn are:

  • Red or inflamed spot where burned
  • Moist or oozing patch of skin
  • Blackened, or leathery skin
  • Dry, cracked, or hard skin
  • Skin that has crusted
  • Skin ulcers
  • Painful skin
  • Blisters
  • Blotchy, red and white skin
  • Edema, or a buildup of fluid in the tissue that causes swelling
  • Singeing of hair
  • Dry, curled or brittle hair
  • Fur color change
  • Constant scratching accompanied by whimpers of pain
  • Avoidance of being touched
  • Fever, often concurrent with sunburns

Types 

Scalds are burns from a hot liquid or steam. There are other various types of burns. They include:

  • Chemical burns, such as from acids; be aware that they can become worse if water is used on them
  • Thermal burns are caused by fire, hot water, or hot materials, such as heat lamps and water blankets
  • Electrical burns are from exposure to electricity, often through live wires
  • Radiation burns are from microwave or solar radiation
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Causes of Burns and Scalds in Dogs

There are many ways your dog could get a burn or scald.

  • Contact with hot engine parts, such as a muffler or catalytic converter
  • Contact with hot appliances, such as space heaters, ovens, grills, or hair dryers
  • Contact with objects that conduct heat, such as tools or hoses left in the sun
  • Electrocution, such as chewing on electrical cords
  • Contact with hot foods, liquids, or steam, such as during cooking, or spilled candle wax
  • Contact with fire, such as a house or barn fire
  • Contact with microwave radiation
  • Too much sun exposure
  • Contact with chemicals that burn

While any dog can get burned by accident, some dogs have a higher chance of sunburn, and possibly skin cancer. These include:

  • White dogs
  • Thin haired dogs
  • Hairless dogs
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Diagnosis of Burns and Scalds in Dogs

With burns, it is important to get your dog to a veterinarian immediately. Tell your veterinarian what had burned your dog if you know. If you don’t know, be sure to report things your dog may have been in contact with, as well as any symptoms he has exhibited. Burns will be examined and assessed. Factors such as the kind of burn, where the burn is, how much of your dog’s body is affected, and the depth of the burns will help to determine the course of treatment. 

The exposed skin of a burn can develop a bacterial infection, and severe burns can cause dehydration and renal failure. Your veterinarian may check to see if your dog is suffering from these conditions. If renal failure is suspected, your veterinarian may also order blood tests and a urinalysis to check kidney function.

If your dog was in direct contact with a fire, such as a barn or house fire, be on the lookout for signs of smoke inhalation, such as sneezing, gasping for air, or losing consciousness. Your veterinarian may use chest X-rays to assess any lung damage.

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Treatment of Burns and Scalds in Dogs

Treatments for burns in your dog will depend on the type of burn or scald, and the depth of the burn. If it isn’t a chemical burn, you can remove the burning material at home, such as food or wax that has spilled onto your dog. Any other treatment should be left to a veterinarian.

Generally, the protocol for less severe burns is to manage the wound, administer fluid therapy as needed, and give antibiotics. Anesthesia is generally given, as well as pain medication, such as opiates. Burns are then soaked in saline solution to remove any debris. Any dead skin is cut away, as it can harbor bacteria. Silvadene is applied to prevent infection, and the wounds are dressed. Bandages are changed daily. For more severe burns, an escharotomy will be performed, a surgery that can help restore blood flow to the damaged tissues.

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Recovery of Burns and Scalds in Dogs

If renal failure is present, your veterinarian will take appropriate measures to treat it.

Recovery of Burns and Scalds in Dogs

Healing time for a burn varies with the intensity of the burn, and can be anywhere from 2 weeks to over 4 weeks. Daily treatment of wound cleaning, applying topical medication and bandaging may be recommended.

There are many ways to prevent your dog from getting burned, such as keeping hot things away from your dog, keeping electrical cords and chemicals out of reach, and always setting a hair dryer to cool if using it on your dog.

Prevent a sunburn by not shaving your dog, avoid taking walks during the hottest part of the day, and use a pet friendly sunblock applied to the nose, ear tips, belly, groin, and any other exposed areas of skin.

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Burns and Scalds Average Cost

From 282 quotes ranging from $300 - $4,000

Average Cost

$1,500

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Burns and Scalds Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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doxin/pitbull

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year and a half

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Unknown severity

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2 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Redness , Whining, Oozing Blisters

My dog got burned by the hot pot it had hot food in it and it was still plugged in so was still hot . Now he's got oozing blisters on on his lip and is all red and he's crying whining whatever am I to do

Jan. 15, 2021

Owner

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Dr. Maureen M. DVM

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2 Recommendations

Hi, Place an ice pack on the blisters. They help relieve the pain though I would recommend a visit to the vet for some steroids and to have the blisters drained. Good luck

Jan. 15, 2021

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dog-breed-icon

Boston

dog-age-icon

Two Years

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Unknown severity

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3 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

My dog got scalded 4/5 days ago now, I'm doctoring him at home,I'm doing what I've been told to do and hes doing ok,hes eating n drinking on his own,but I worry please any advice

Dec. 2, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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3 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. This is a chat platform, with text messages and we cannot call you. If he is having problems with the burns, he may need Veterinary Care. Burns can become complicated and infected if not treated, and he may need more care. I hope that he is doing okay. If he is eating and drinking and generally moving around well, he may be okay.

Dec. 2, 2020

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Burns and Scalds Average Cost

From 282 quotes ranging from $300 - $4,000

Average Cost

$1,500

Vet bills can sneak up on you.

Plan ahead. Get the pawfect insurance plan for your pup.

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