How to Clean a Dog's Wound

Easy
10 - 15 Minutes
1 Day

Introduction

Your poor pup has been wounded. Maybe he got into something while outside, maybe he stepped on something, or maybe he had a fight with another animal. Once you get past the initial shock and worry for your pup, you will need to clean his wound to ensure dirt, debris, and bacteria don't build up and fester causing an infection and additional pain. After cleaning your little guy’s wound, assess him for a possible trip to your veterinarian's office. Try to remain calm because he can sense your energy. It will help keep him calm as well.

Dog's Perspective

If your pup has been injured, he is probably in some pain and potentially even scared. His adrenaline may be running high, and he could either be acting rather subdued or excited and anxious.

The Cleanse and Watch Method

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Shampoo
Step
1
Isolate wound
If your dog has one wound, you can bet he might have more. Check his entire body, including his paws and paw pads for additional wounds. Once you have the wounds isolated, start cleansing.
Step
2
Rinse
Rinse the area with cool to warm, but not cold, water. Rinse long enough to remove dirt or debris from the wound.
Step
3
Mild cleanser
Wash the wound with a mild cleanser such as a gentle dog shampoo or a saline solution.
Step
4
Pour
Once you have used a cleanser, you’ll need to continue to pour water or saline solution on the wound, soaking it. To do this, use a cup or a bottle filled with water or saline and work from the center of the wound out to the edges.
Step
5
Air dry
Allow the wound to air dry or with a gentle touch, blot it dry with gauze.
Step
6
Observe
Look closely at the wound to ensure it is clean. If you see any dirt or debris, rinse again to remove. Leaving anything in the wound could cause infection. If there are particles you cannot remove, consider calling your veterinarian for assistance.
Step
7
Topical
Apply a topical medication to fight bacteria. An antibiotic cream will keep bacteria from entering the wound and assist in keeping bacteria in the wound from spreading.
Step
8
Wrap
With ointment or cream on the wound, you’ll want to keep it wrapped to keep your dog from licking it. Check the wrap once or twice a day and change it daily.
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The Saline Wash Method

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Step
1
Mix
Mix water with Epsom salt to create your own saline solution. Use this solution to clean the wound and to keep it clean in the days or weeks to come.
Step
2
Boil water
Boil two cups of water. Add one teaspoon of Epsom salt or sea salt to the water to make a saline solution. You will need to flush the wound quite a bit, so be sure to make enough using this ratio of water to salt.
Step
3
Let cool
Allow water the cool before pouring it onto the skin. Once it is cool, pour the solution into a bottle or a cup for easy pouring.
Step
4
Pour
Slowly pour the solution over your dog’s wound starting in the middle of the wound and gently washing out away from the center. This will help to remove dirt from the wound pushing it out towards the edges.
Step
5
Pat dry
Once the wound is thoroughly flushed, pat it dry with gauze or a clean soft cloth. Try not to use anything that could leave dust or fibers behind on the wound.
Step
6
Rinse again
Each time you need to rinse your dog’s wound, make a new solution and slowly pour it over the wound once it has cooled. You may need to rinse twice a day until you see new skin forming, meaning the wound is healing.
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Caution & Considerations

  • Be sure to rinse the wound long enough for dirt and debris to wash out.
  • Saline solution will help cleanse the tissue as well as remove debris.
  • Hydrogen peroxide can be used on a wound but you may consider diluting it with water so it does not damage healthy tissue.
  • Continuous monitoring of your dog’s wound can tell you how well it is healing. Watch for redness or swelling.
  • Try to use cleansers, such as a mild soap, that will gently wash the wound but not harm healthy skin and tissue surrounding the wound.
  • Remember your dog can become wounded by many things from articles in your yard or home or other animals.
  • If he was wounded by another animal, bacteria left behind in the wound could cause infection and an issue much more than if wounded by glass or other objects.
  • Keeping a close eye on the wound as it heals will help determine if you need to call your veterinarian.
  • Take a photo of the wound once you have it cleaned so you can compare what it looks like over the next few days as it heals. This will also help your vet if you need to see him during the healing process.

Conclusion

No one wants a wounded dog, but dogs tend to get into snips and snails at times, causing an injury. Whether you are cleaning a wound because your Muffin was injured or because he's recently had surgery, be sure to keep an eye on the wound as it heals. Give him lots of love and affection, and in turn, he'll keep giving you puppy kisses.

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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