Treating Bite Wounds in Your Dog

By February 23 | See Comments

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Bite wounds are the most common cause of trauma in dogs and usually result from altercations with cats, other dogs and wildlife. They are puncture wounds and although they may appear small, they can spell a lot of trouble for your dog. The deceptive nature of bite marks lies in the fact that while the outer wound can be small, but deep, extending all the way through the skin and into the subcutaneous tissue and muscle. The risk of infection is pretty high, considering the amount of bacteria in an animal’s mouth. Since the surface wound is small, it heals fast, leaving the bacteria trapped in the deep wound. This creates the perfect atmosphere for them to grow and develop into an abscess.Cat bites usually develop abscesses since their teeth are long and thin. Dog bites are shallower and the outer wounds are larger than a cat bite. Thus, the rate of abscess formation is lower but it is still high. Here are a few steps you can take to reduce the complications if your dog is bit:

Control your dog bleeding from a bite wound

You can control bleeding by applying a washcloth or a clean towel to the wound along with some firm pressure. Dog bites bleed more than at bites and the location of the bite wound is a major factor. Highly vascular areas like the nose and ear bleed a lot while the trunk and legs might not bleed that much.

Take your dog to the vet

Seek immediate attention of the vet to evaluate the injury. He/she will see how deep the wound is, estimate the dead space involved and recommend appropriate treatment. Dead space is formed when skin is pulled away from the subcutaneous tissue creating an air pocket between the skin and underlying tissue. If the space is big, it creates enough room for the bacteria to thrive and create an abscess. Your vet will either clean up the wound and prescribe some antibiotics or go for a surgical drain if the wound is deep.

How to clean a minor wound

If the wound is minor, apply some KY jelly on it and clip the fur around the affected area. The jelly will keep the fur away from the wound, which can be wiped with a washcloth afterwards. Clipping the fur will make it easy to clean up the wound and prevents the bacteria on the fur from infecting the wound further. Once you are done clipping, clean the wound with

a topical spray

.

Home care

This involves cleaning the wound with gauze moistened with hydrogen peroxide 3 to 4 times a day and applying

a triple antibiotic

like Neosporin to the wound. Ensure that you monitor the wound for any signs of infection: swelling, excessive redness or purulent discharge. If you notice any of these signs, you need to check in with your vet.

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