How to Bathe a Dog With Open Wounds

Hard
20 - 60 Minutes
1 Month

Introduction

Yikes! Your dog got tangled in a barbed wire fence, fought with the neighbor's dog, or impaled himself on a sharp stick, and now he has an open wound that the veterinarian has suggested stay open to drain, as stitching is not currently an option. But your dog needs bathing; he has blood all over his coat and debris from his accident. Also, he stinks, because he was so stressed during the incident that the release of natural chemicals on his body has caused him to smell pretty funky. 

 Since you will need to keep him contained in your house while he recovers and to provide treatment, you need to do something about his dirty, smelly condition. How do you bathe a dog with open wounds though? Will a regular bath cause problems for his wounds? Yes, regular shampoo and the handling and mechanics of your usual bathing procedure can irritate and cause further damage to open wounds.  But there are solutions for cleaning up your patient.   A little adjustment is needed, but soon you will have your injured pup looking and smelling much better.

Dog's Perspective

If your dog is injured, he may have experienced quite a bit of stress during the incident that injured him. He may be anxious or traumatized by the incident, or experiencing pain from his injuries. Either of these factors can make a usually docile, bath-loving canine unpredictable, or even react aggressively to handling for a bath. Be aware of this and go slowly to see what your dog is comfortable with. Take precautions. Also, be aware of your dog’s injuries and compensate for them when handling and moving your dog so as to cause minimal discomfort.

Caution & Considerations

  • Avoid contaminating open wounds with bacteria from other parts of your dog's body when bathing a wounded dog.
  • Do not use detergents, soaps, shampoos or other products on or near open wounds.  Avoid when bathing so that water or soap does not run into open wounds and cause damage.
  • Be cautious bathing a wounded dog, as pain and discomfort can result in personality changes and aggression.
  • Move slowly and carefully when handling a wounded dog to determine what causes discomfort and needs to be avoided.
  • Follow your veterinarian's recommendations for treating and cleaning wounds.
  • If bathing is not necessary for a dog with open wounds, avoid it when possible.

Conclusion


If you need to bathe a dog with open wounds you are going to need to be careful, extremely careful. You do not want to contaminate the wounds with bacteria and dirt from your dog's body, or get irritating detergents or bathing products in the wound. Use water only, and spot clean to prevent wounds from further damage. Use your fingers to remove debris as necessary, and be gentle and patient. Your veterinarian will give you specific instructions for cleaning open wounds that may involve saline solutions or surgical preparations, follow instructions closely to heal your hurt hound.

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

Grooming Questions & Answers

Question
Chey
Lhasa Apso
14 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Chey
Lhasa Apso
14 Years

Can I bathe my dog when she has her period &. UTI?

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Chey
Lhasa Apso
14 Years
0 found helpful
Question
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Chey
Lhasa Apso
14 Years

My dog has her period & saw her vet to treat UTI yesterday. Can I bathe her?

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
0 Dog owners recommended

Hi Ro, I am sorry to hear that Chey has an infection of the urinary tract. I do feel that bathing Chey is a good idea because keeping the area clean is an important part of the healing process. Doing so will prevent bacteria from accumulating and re-entering the urinary tract. However, be sure to dry the area well and do not use perfumed or human soaps and shampoos. In fact, I would suggest giving your vet a quick call to ask their opinion before bathing and they will suggest what product to use. Remember to allow Chey to go out for a pee as often as needed - the sensation of needing to urinate is always present when a dog has an infection of the urinary tract. Good luck!

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Question
Porter
Labrador Retriever
10 Years
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Question
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Porter
Labrador Retriever
10 Years

My dog has a pretty bad sore on his leg it’s infected, and he stinks. Can I still bathe him?

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