How to Care for a Dog or Cat Bite Wound

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Care for a dog or cat bite wound involves frequent cleaning of the wound
Care for a dog or cat bite wound involves frequent cleaning of the wound (Image: www.morguefile.com)

Dog and cat bite wounds are common and are frequently the cause of rough play or a fight with another animal. Dog and cat wound care involves keeping the wound absolutely clean so that the wound can heal without becoming infected.

Things You'll Need

  • Hair clipper or scissors
  • Iodine, such as Betadine
  • Clean soft cloth or gauze
  • Hydrogen peroxide or alcohol
  • Triple antibiotic ointment, such as Neosporin

Clip or cut the hair surrounding the bite wound on your dog or cat so that you can see and evaluate the wound more thoroughly. This will also assist in cleaning, caring for and treating the bite wound. A clipper is the best tool to use to do this as the clipper is less likely to further damage the skin for your dog or cat. If you use a pair of scissors, be very careful not to cut your dog or cat with them while you are cutting the hair. Try to clip the hair as close to the skin as possible.

Clip the hair around the bite wound
Clip the hair around the bite wound

Clean any dirt, hair, mud or any other foreign substance out of the bite wound on your dog or cat by using warm water mixed with an iodine solution and gauze or a clean cloth.

Clean the bite wound thoroughly with betadine diluted in water
Clean the bite wound thoroughly with betadine diluted in water

Once finished cleaning the bite wound, apply a small amount of triple antibiotic ointment to the injured skin for your dog or cat.

Apply Neosporin or another antibiotic ointment to the bite wound
Apply Neosporin or another antibiotic ointment to the bite wound

Clean the bite wound daily using the iodine solution diluted with water. You can also use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol to clean the wound instead. Alcohol will sting more than iodine or hydrogen peroxide and be more painful for your dog or cat. Hydrogen peroxide may bleach your dog or cat's hair. Iodine may discolor the hair also.

Use hydrogen peroxide, alchol or iodine to clean the bite wound daily
Use hydrogen peroxide, alchol or iodine to clean the bite wound daily

Continue to clean the wound daily until it has healed completely.

Tips & Warnings

  • When treating any wound, wear latex or rubber gloves to protect your own hands from infection. This is especially true if your pet's wound is infected and/or has a discharge. Wash your hands thoroughly after handling as well.
  • Minor wounds can be cared for at home, but serious wounds may need veterinary care. If your dog or cat has an extremely large wound, a wound which is bleeding profusely or a wound which is extremely painful, you should seek veterinary care for your dog or cat.
  • If the wound on your dog or cat's skin will not heal, consult your veterinarian. Your dog or cat may need antibiotics or other health care.
  • If your pet's wound is a bite wound which occurred as a result of a fight with another dog or cat, make certain your dog or cat is current on his rabies vaccination. If possible, ask to see the rabies documentation for the other dog or cat. If you are unable to ascertain whether the other dog or cat is current on his or her rabies vaccination, consult your veterinarian or your local animal control officer.
  • Also, if your dog or cat suffered a bite wound as a result of a fight with a wild animal, consult your veterinarian or your local animal control officer.

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