It’s a gorgeous day, your dog is running, jumping and chasing and you feel so happy that you can’t stop smiling. There are so many things that could go wrong. Dogs are very sensitive and can be easily injured by broken glass, barbed wire, hot pavement, broken glass, or briars.
Although serious injuries may require hospitalization, most common issues can be treated at home or on the trail. These guidelines will help you deal with common minor injuries.
HOME TREATMENT DOG WUND CARE
These three steps are the most common for minor injuries.
Rinse the area and then dry it. Soak the paw pads in cold or cool water.
*Use a first-aid cream or antibiotic ointment.
Bandage the wound if necessary. You should not apply bandages so tightly that they block circulation. Bandages should be removed after a few hours or when the dressing has been changed.
CLEANING THE DOG WOND
Check your dog’s feet for broken glass, thorns or sharp objects if he is limping. Use clean, dry tweezers to remove any embedded items. To stop bleeding from a cut, apply gauze to the area. Photo credit: Susan Leggett/ Dreamstime.com
Bacteria are everywhere so wash, rinse, and treat the area to reduce the chance of infection.
Mary Straus, WDJ contributor, cleans the wounds of her dogs with a mixture of witch hazel extract, aloe vera and lavender oil. She says that she makes her own soothing cleanser using 1/4 aloe vera gel or juice and 3/4 witch hazel. It is mixed in a 2-ounce bottle with a few drops of lavender essential oil. Then, I shake it up before it is used. This has been my method of doing business for over 20 years. It soothes any itching and keeps a dog’s mouth clean from any cuts or wounds. It has not infected any of the wounds that I have used it on. It is applied with cotton balls, and left to air dry.
Witch hazel is high in tannins, which are naturally occurring compounds found in plants and seeds, bark, leaves, and leaves. These compounds have been shown to have anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory qualities. Products that do not contain any added fragrance, such as Thayer’s Facial Toner Aloe Vera Formula, are best. Also, products that don’t contain alcohol (such as Mountain Rose Herbs Witch Hazel extract, which contains 14% alcohol) should be avoided. (Alcohol may be used to clean wounds, but it can also cause stinging.
You can make a herbal rinse using 1 cup boiling water and 2 teaspoons of dried herb or 2 teabags. You can brew more tea by adding 1 quart (4 cups), boiling water to 3 tablespoons (or 8 teabags) of dried herb. Let the tea cool down, then cover and let it steep for a while. Once it is cool, strain it, then refrigerate until ready to use. Tea can be kept in the refrigerator for up to seven days. You can double the amount of herbs, boil the tea for three minutes, strain it, then add ice to thin the mixture.
Natural markets and herbal tea shops can sell herbs that are known for their skin-healing abilities. These herbs include comfrey leaf and root (Symphytumofficinale), German chamomile blossoms (Matricaria chamomilla), St. John’s wort blossoms (Hypericumperforatum), calendula blossoms (Calendulaofficinalis), broad- and narrow-leaved plantsain (Plantago spp.). leaves, and lavender (Lavandula anifolia) blossoms and leaves.
Comfrey is essential for wound healing as it contains allantoin which is a cell growth stimulant. However, it doesn’t work so fast that you shouldn’t apply it to sutures that need to be removed or puncture wounds where bacteria might be trapped by the rapidly healing skin.
First aid has been a long-standing use of apple cider vinegar. Vinegar can be used to treat cuts, wounds and skin infections. It also soothes the skin and promotes healing. Apple cider vinegar can be used sparingly to prevent staining white or very light coats.
Any tea that is used to treat wounds can have mineral-rich, unrefined sea Salt added. Tea can be made with 18 teaspoons of salt. For an effective treatment of skin disorders, mix 4 cups of herbal tea with 3/4 cup aloe vera gel or gel, and 1/2 cup unrefined salt.
Salt water can be used to heal wounds. A German Shepherd Dog, a female German Shepherd Dog, suffered from a painful sore years ago. She refused to heal despite multiple veterinary visits over many months. The sore was improved by the owner using 2 tablespoons of unrefined sea Salt in 1/2 cup water. It healed within one week.
CONTROVERSY ON TOPICAL ANTIBIOTICS
Concerns have been raised in recent years about the use of topical antibiotic creams such as Neosporin and other triple antibiotic ointments. Some worry these products could lead to the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Others consider the use of petroleum-based products to be unsafe.
Neosporin ointment has bacitracin (4000 units), neomycin (3.25 mg), and polymyxin A (5,000 units). It is made with cocoa butter and cottonseed oil as well as olive oil, coconut oil, salt pyruvate and vitamin E. Neosporin Plus (labeled Neosporin+ Pain Relief, Maximum Strength Antbiotic) contains 500 units of neomycin (3.5g), polymyxin A (10,000 units) and pramoxine (HCL) (10 mg) in white petrolatum.
Although no published research has proven that polymyxin B or neomycin contribute to the spread antibiotic-resistant bacteria in humans, it is a well-known theory.
Infection and Drug Resistance published a 2018 review that examined the effectiveness of topical antibiotics in the prevention of simple wound infections in humans. It concluded that while topical antibiotics can be effective in reducing infections following surgical procedures, the absolute benefit to wound healing is minimal. Antimicrobial resistance is a growing concern worldwide. It is important to use antibiotics with caution. Topical antibiotics should be avoided if possible.
Use Neosporin according to the label instructions. Wash the area thoroughly with soap and water. Dry the area completely before applying the ointment. Apply Neosporin only to small areas of skin, animals bites, severe burns or wounds that are bleeding heavily. You can apply the ointment one to three times daily. Clean the wounds and use a new bandage if necessary. You can use Neosporin for as long as the label recommends (usually 7 days) or as directed by your veterinarian. If symptoms do not improve, you should continue to use Neosporin.
A 1989 study that compared dogs who had undergone surgery found that those who received Neosporin’s bacitracin had less infections and positive bacteria cultures than the ones who did not receive it. This ingredient is approved for animal use.
Another key ingredient is Neomycin. It’s used to treat or prevent skin infections caused bacteria. Dogs can apply it topically.
In the event that bacitracin or neomycin fail to work, Neosporin’s third anti-infective ingredient, polymyxin, is added to the ointment.
Neosporin Plus’s ingredient, pramoxine (a topical analgesic), slightly numbs skin. This helps to relieve pain, prevent itching, and reduce irritation. This ingredient is safe for dogs and can be found in anti-itch sprays for animals.
Neosporin is only intended for external use and should not be eaten. Dogs should be kept away from Neosporin-treated wounds by avoiding their consumption.
LTERNATIVE DOG WOOUND DRESSINGS
There are many alternatives for those who don’t want to use Neosporin and other products with the same ingredients. These products are available under different brand names.
After the wound has dried, apply protection. These products can be found in pet supply shops, online, and retail stores. Many of these products are sticky or greasy. Protecting the wound with gauze, or a bandage can prevent staining on fabrics, floors, or furniture. Make sure you follow the directions on product labels to replace bandages.
*Aquaphor is another topical product in a petrolatum-based base. It also contains mineral oil and ceresin (a naturally derived wax that is used as a thickening agents), lanolin alcohol, panthenol, glycerin and bisabolol. This ingredient gives chamomile her anti-inflammatory properties. Aquaphor can be found in major chains like Target, CVS Walgreens Walmart and Walgreens.
Researchers compared different wound-care methods to determine if antibiotic-based ointments improved outcomes in a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. The combination antibiotic ointment Aquaphor, a petrolatum-based skin protector ointment, did not have the same effect on wound healing.
Aquaphor was recommended by Straus’ dermatologist to be used for abrasion treatment. She said it was better than antibiotic ointments and that it would protect the skin. She adds that Aquaphor is also safe to use on dogs.
*Pet Magic Wound Care, The Honey Collection, contains medical-grade Manuka honey, wheatgerm and calendula. You can apply it with or without a dressing. This product is made in New Zealand. It can be purchased at Amazon.com or Walmart.com.
*Absorbine Honey Rapid Wound Repair Ointment by W.F. Young, Inc. combines medical-grade Manuka honey and micro-sized silver particles for antimicrobial activity. There are many other ingredients, including calendula flower extract and shea butter. Silver Honey Hot Spot & wound Care Spray Gel allows for the easy application of the same ingredients to larger areas. For a complete list of brick-and-mortar and online retail outlets, visit absorbine.com.
*Restore Wound Care & Itch Relief Salve from Farm Dog Naturals includes cherry kernel, almond, apricot seed, pumpkin kernel, karanja and neem oils, cancililia wax and unrefined Shea butter. Apply generously and allow to stand for 6-8 hours. After that, wipe the area with gauze. Farmdognaturals.com has more information.
HoneyCure Natural Veterinary Ointment by Enbiologics contains a natural gelling agent, Simmondsia Chinensis oil (jojoba), and Melaleuca alternifolia oil (tea tree). This product is recommended for dogs with hot spots, scrapes and burns. It claims to stop them from biting, scratching and licking the area. See gethoneycure.com.
Coniferous tree pitch, which is antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal, has been used for centuries as a healing remedy. A retired logger established the North American Tree Resin Company in 1970. They supply medicinal pitch made from Pacific Douglas Fir, yellow pine and other conifers. Now known as Pruitt’s Tree Resin (themiraclesalve.com), the company’s product line includes a salve for pets made of resin in a base of petroleum jelly. Use small amounts, keeping eyes and mucous membranes away.
*EMT Gel, a Type I medical hydrolysate collagen product from the Hymed Group acts as a tissue adhesive and reduces scarring. It also forms a semi-occlusive barrier to protect the wounds.
EMT Gel, unlike other first-aid products can sometimes stop severe bleeding. For more information, visit hymed.com
*Collasate is another veterinary hydrolysate for Type I collagen, available from the Hymed Group (hymed.com) as a topical gel, spray or post-operative gel. It is recommended for surgical wounds and superficial and traumatic wounds.
Minor injuries can be frustrating and can lead to serious health problems if they aren’t treated promptly. You can make your dog’s minor injuries less painful and have more fun with him.
Dog Wound Care Whole Dog Journal.