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08 Feb 2016
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PAW

Cuts and scrapes - when to seek help from your vet

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Just like with your children, dogs, particularly puppies, are going to scrape or cut themselves at some point. Hopefully when this happens, it is a minor event and you can be handled at home. But exactly how do you administer first aid, and when do you know it’s time to seek veterinary attention?

First aid for scratches and cuts

In order to be prepared for these accidents have the following items ready as your ‘pet first aid kit’: a muzzle, some sterile gauze (you can get some of this at a pharmacy) and PAW Manuka wound gel to use as a wound dressing in the first instance.

There are a few basic tips you can follow when administering first aid to pets in the circumstance where they cut themselves:

1. Clear the area – Assess the area for any risks to yourself, others, and your pooch, prior to administering any first aid. This will avoid any additional complications.

2. Apply a muzzle - If it’s not an obvious disaster, and your pooch seems stable, it may be worth applying a muzzle. As you can imagine, dogs can sometimes be in substantial amounts of pain. You may think your dog would never bite, but in pain everything is unpredictable

3. Control bleeding – This is easily described, and sometimes difficult to apply. But as a rule of thumb, apply steady pressure to the wound with anything (ideally sterile gauze) and elevate the limb to slow blood flow. If it’s uncontrollable, you should already be on your way to the Vets.

4. Cleanse the area – Only in circumstances where the wound is minor can you consider cleansing it with salty or even tap water. Once clean, it can then be monitored on an ongoing basis

When to call in professional help

This varies substantially between individual pet owners, but generally speaking seek veterinary attention in any of the following circumstances: 

  • If you feel overwhelmed in any way
  • Bleeding is significant and unable to be controlled
  • Your pet is painful or distressed as your veterinarian will be able to provide pain relief
  • Laceration appears deep and involving underlying structures
  • The wound is significantly contaminated
  • If there is any evidence of infection – swelling, smell, discharge, etc.

Often termed the iceberg effect, wounds can sometimes appear much less significant than on first sight. And a healthy wound one day, can be an infected wound the next. So, under most circumstances you should always seek Veterinary attention.

Read more: Cat abscesses 

ASK PAWL B MORE: What's important in wound care for your pet?

Related product:

  • PAW Manuka Wound Gel™ is a sterile medical grade wound dressing made from Leptospermum.sp (Manuka) honey (80%) and natural oils and waxes for wound management. It is ideal for dogs, cats, horses and other companion animals with wounds, burns, grazes and as a general first aid.