Knowing basic first aid is essential for any canine caregiver. A simple cut on your dog’s paw pads from glass or rocks may seem minor, but even a simple cut can become infected. Knowing how to clean and dress that cut will reduce the risk of infection and possible complications. Having the correct supplies on hand helps to speed treatment at the time of injury. If your dog suffers a severe cut, cleaning the wound and stopping the bleeding can make it easier to transport your dog to your local veterinarian.
Things You'll Need
- Muzzle (optional)
- Sterile gauze
- Warm tap water
- Squirt bottle
Ask a friend or family member to hold your dog. Your dog may be scared, in pain and antsy. Having someone hold your dog still will allow you to thoroughly examine and clean the cut. If your dog becomes aggressive, it may be necessary to apply a muzzle in order to examine and treat her.
Wear a pair of clean, disposable gloves. This helps reduce the introduction of bacteria or other pathogens to your dog’s injury, thus reducing the risk of infection. Using sterile gauze, apply gentle pressure to the cut to slow any bleeding. If bleeding does not slow down or the cut appears deep, continue to apply pressure and seek veterinary care immediately.
Use scissors to carefully cut away any long hair around the area of the cut. This makes it easier for you to see the wound while allowing for easier cleaning and healing.
Fill a small squirt bottle with warm tap water. Squirt the cut with a regular flow of water to remove any dirt and debris. If a water bottle is not available, other options include a hose, kitchen spray nozzle or even a home dental water pick unit. Generally, warm water is enough to clean a cut on your dog. The goal is to flush the wound and remove any debris. Do not use soaps or hydrogen peroxide unless directed to do so by your veterinarian. Do not scrub the area of the cut, as this can cause damage to skin around the cut and delay healing.
Keep your dog from licking the open cut as much as possible, as this can delay wound healing. Distract her by playing games or give her a treat. If regular licking becomes a problem, you may need to cover the wound with a loose bandage or you may talk to your veterinarian about an Elizabethan collar.