What Pet Owners Need to Know About Fight Wounds on Dogs

As a dog owner, be prepared to deal with the odd graze or wound to your pet. A wound is a break in the skin or internal tissues, and there isusually bleeding from damaged blood vessels. A wounded dog requires medical attention in case of excessive bleeding or the risk ofinfection.


The skin may be broken, producing an open, bleeding wound, or it maybe closed, producing only visible dis-colouration and swelling. Open wounds look worse, but closed wounds can hide deeper, more dangerous injuries, which should be dealt with by your vet.

Heavy bleeding or slow, continuous,lighter bleeding can lead to dangerous clinical shock (see p.305). While  interior draining is hard to control, external bleeding can often be controlled by applying pressure. Spurting blood, orarterial bleeding, means that an arteryhas been damaged.

This is more difficult to stop because the blood pressure ishigher in arteries than in veins. A woundmay not produce much blood at all, butit can still be life-threatening to your dog.Don’t waste time treating more minor problems. A dog requires immediate emergency veterinary attention in any of the following circumstances:

– A penetrating wound to the chest or abdomen, with or without bleeding.

– Blood spurting from an open wound.

– Any bleeding that does not stop after five minutes of applied pressure.

– Bright red blood in vomit or diarrhoea.

– Profuse bleeding from any body opening.

– Signs of clinical shock (see p.305).


Apply pressure at the site of bleeding,preferably using absorbent material, suchas medical gauze. Ifno first-aid materialis available, use anything at hand, such as kitchen towels and facial or toilet tissue.

When the bleeding stops, don’t remove theblood-soaked pad; the clot is controlling the bleeding. Wrap it in place and keep it there until the wound is seen by your vet, at the latest on the same day.If possible, keep the bleeding area higher than the heart, but don’t elevate a bleeding limb if there is a possibility ofa fracture.


A tourniquet is a tight band that is applied to a limb to stop life-threatening bleeding. If applied wrongly, it cuts offthe blood supply and can lead to the loss of the limb; it should only be used for severe and profuse bleeding. Wrapa tie or similar strip above the bleeding wound and tie with a releasable knot. Slip a stick or pen into the knot and twist until bleeding stops. Release after less than 10 minutes and reapply intermittently if needed.


It is impossible to prevent all accidents, but you can reduce risks and be prepared for emergencies.

– Train your dog in obedience and always keep him under your control.

– Keep a first aid kit close to handcontaining basic wound dressings(non-stick sterile pads and dressings,cotton wool, stretchy roll bandage),scissors, tweezers, washing sodacrystals for inducing vomiting,activated charcoal powder for useif your dog is poisoned, and a bottleof clean water for cleansing wounds.

– Keep both your vet’s telephone number and a back-up vet’s number in a convenient place.


Use tweezers or clean fingers to remove loose dirt or othermaterial from the wound. Flush the wound with 3% hydrogen peroxide, antiseptic fluid, or clean water. Pour the fluid over thewound, or use a clean hand-held plant spray with the nozzleturned to “jet”.

If the hair is getting into the wound, rub a little water-soluble jelly onto a pair of scissors and cut the hair away; the hair will stick to the scissors. Avoid using oil-based ointments, because these substances are particularly difficult for your vet to cleanse from around open wounds. Always see your vet as soon as possible after administering this kind of first aid your dog is at risk from infection and may require stitches.

Dressing a bleeding ear

Immobilizing the ear prevents blood loss when the dog shakes his head. Apply absorbent pads to each side of the ear and secure them in place with a stretchy bandage or a section of tights, taking care not to restrict the breathing.

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