How to Treat Dog Skin Burns

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Skin burns can be serious and require immediate veterinarian care.
Skin burns can be serious and require immediate veterinarian care. (Image: WebSubstance/iStock/Getty Images)

If your dog has suffered a skin burn, there are some things you can do at home to help ease the pain and discomfort. Keep in mind, however, that such treatment is not a substitute for a veterinary examination and treatment. Home treatment is simply to try to provide the dog with some relief until you get to your veterinarian's office.

Home First-Aid Care

If your dog has just suffered a burn, head to the vet as soon as possible. If you can't do right away or if your vet is too far, give him a call before you do anything else. He might suggest applying ice packs or towels wet with cold water to the area of a minor burn. If the burn is caused by acid, you can use baking soda mixed in water to neutralize the acid. Alkaline chemicals can be neutralized using a mix of vinegar and water.

Signs and Symptoms of Skin Burns

Burns in animals are not classified by degrees. Instead, they are classified as superficial thermal burns, deep thermal burns, electrical burns and chemical burns. The look and feel of a burn depends on what caused it and how serious it is. Superficial burns might cause some redness on the skin, while more serious burns might lead to blisters, swelling and loss of hair. Fluid seeping through the skin is usually an indication of a severe burn and should be considered an emergency.

Vet Care and Treatment

If the burn is severe, your dog might need to be hospitalized and given fluids to help him recover. Your vet might prescribe antibiotics to prevent infection, which are common with serious burns. Application of creams and gels and even surgery to remove dead tissue might be necessary depending on the type and severity of the burn. For example, your vet might recommend wound care medications such as Vetericyn. In dogs, this medication can be used to treat a number of skin problems, including cuts and lacerations, irritation, hot spots and burns.

Outlook and Complications

Surface bacteria can reproduce quickly on burns, as dead tissue provides an excellent medium for bacteria to reproduce. Burns that cover more than 15 percent of the total body surface are considered life-threatening and might require blood transfusions, use of IV therapy and oxygen. Some dogs might need skin grafting, which means taking skin from a healthy area of the body to cover the burned area. This can help facilitate healing and reduce the risk of infections.

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