How to Care for Scratches on Your Dog's Head

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An Elizabethan collar helps to protect scratches on your dog's head.
An Elizabethan collar helps to protect scratches on your dog's head.

Out of curiosity, your dog can get minor lacerations or scratches on its head when it digs under fences or comes into contact with sharp objects. Minor wounds require treatment and cleaning to ensure they do not become infected. Treating the wounds quickly prevents any dirt and debris from becoming embedded in the skin and an infection spreading throughout the dog's system. Take measures to treat minor scratches on your dog's head to allow them to heal properly, but take the dog for emergency veterinary care for more serious, deep wounds.

Things You'll Need

  • Towel
  • Blunt-tipped tweezers
  • Paper towels
  • Sterile gauze pads
  • Electric clippers
  • 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • Antibacterial ointment
  • First aid tape
  • Elizabethan collar
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Instructions

    • 1

      Rinse the scratches with water to remove any dirt and debris from the wounds. Use a gentle stream of warm water in your kitchen sink or bathtub, covering your dog's eyes and nose during the rinsing process with your hand or a loose towel. Hold the dog in place under the water by placing one arm around its middle and one hand under its chin, as it may try to get away from the stream of water that feels irritating on its scratches.

    • 2

      Remove any larger pieces of debris, such as glass or stones, using blunt-tipped tweezers if you cannot rinse them away. Do this gently so you do not break up the debris further. Dry the area of the wounds with paper towels.

    • 3

      Stop any bleeding from the lacerations by holding a sterile gauze pad against them for five to 10 minutes. Apply steady pressure on the wounds with the pad during this time.

    • 4

      Trim away the hair from around the lacerations with an electric clipper so you can better access them.

    • 5

      Soak a sterile gauze pad in an antibacterial solution of equal parts 3 percent hydrogen peroxide and water. Hold the pad against the wounds to clean and sterilize them.

    • 6

      Apply an antibacterial ointment over the scratches to completely cover them. Depending on the location of the wounds, secure a sterile gauze pad over the cuts with first aid tape. Wounds near the dog's eyes may not allow you to do this.

    • 7

      Place an Elizabethan collar over the dog's head to protect the scratches from your dog and allow the wounds to heal

Tips & Warnings

  • Change the dressing on your dog's wounds twice daily and apply new antibacterial ointment each time.

  • Wear surgical gloves while treating any lacerations on your dog's head; this prevents the infection of the wound or the spread of a fungal disease if the lacerations are actually due to a skin infection.

  • Have your dog examined by a veterinarian if you do not know how the scratches occurred. They could indicate that your dog was in a fight or accident that caused more serious wounds, such as a concussion, of which you were unaware.

  • If you notice swelling, redness or discolored discharge, or if you feel heat around the wounds, take your dog to a veterinarian for treatment as the area may be infected. An infection requires the use of oral antibiotics.

  • Deep scratches that continue to bleed or wounds larger than 1/2 inch in size require veterinary care.

  • If your dog exhibits signs of lethargy, confusion or difficulty breathing, take it to a veterinarian for treatment.

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References

  • Photo Credit Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images

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