Nurturing the Most Common Dog Injuries
It’s only natural that your dog gets a little rough and tumble once in a while. While most injuries may warrant a visit to the vet, afterward they’ll need some loving care at home. Here are the best ways to take care of your pet if they get hurt.
SPRAINS AND STRAINS -
Also known as a soft tissue injury, one of the most common injuries a dog can get is a sprain or strain. Strains can happen if a dog overstretches. Highly active dogs might get strains easier, especially if they love to jump. Strains injure the tendons in a dog’s legs, hips, and thighs.
Sprains are another word for joint damage. The most common sprains happen with the wrists and knees, and this can happen whether a dog steps in a hole or takes a hard fall. Sprains are obvious too: You’ll often see your dog limping if they have a sprain.
After taking your dog to the vet to get a check-up, you’ll take part in their healing process when they get home. Most vets won’t recommend surgery unless it’s serious, so that means taking it easy for a while (which may be easier said than done if your dog loves to play!)
The most common vet recommendations for strains and sprains are:
- Applying ice or heating pads to the affected area
- Monitoring your dog's behavior so they don’t re-sprain anything
- Taking slower walks or keeping your dog off their leg if the injury is more serious
- For more serious injuries, your vet may recommend anti-inflammatory drugs or physical therapy.
CUTS AND SCRAPES -
Whether your dog is walking along the beach or gets in a kerfuffle with the neighborhood cat, sometimes little cuts and scrapes happen. Abrasions happen on your dog paws or other parts of their bodies from rough areas like cement or sand. Lacerations happen when the skin is actually cut by sharp objects like broken glass.
Bite wounds are particularly something to watch out for, especially if your dog finds a feisty raccoon, as they could have rabies.
After your dog goes to the vet to get checked out, get a shot, or get stitches, here’s what you should do at home:
- Unless the vet already shaved the fur away from the wound, use a water-based lubricant and spread it around the area. It helps with shaving the fur off and decreases contamination.
- Wash the area with warm water until debris is gone
- Gently apply a non-stinging antiseptic solution
- Prevent your pet from touching the infected area by wearing a cone or sock, depending on the injury
- If the injury worsens, seek veterinary help.
EYES AND MOUTH -
After running and playing all day in the dirt, dogs can easily get debris in their eyes. If you notice your dog’s eye is red or swelling, check to see if there is something caught in the tear duct or lid. After actively cleaning out the area with warm water, wait a day to see if the eye got infected.
- After visiting the vet, they may prescribe an eye drop or ointment to prevent infection and swelling. Follow the directions on the medicine and contact your vet office if there are any further questions.
- Keep your dogs face clean while treating them with the medication. This may mean putting a cone on your dog to avoid them from agitating the eye.
While playing, dogs love chewing on sticks and other sharp objects. Sticks sometimes have sharp edges or can splinter. Some of the most common mouth injuries happen on a dog’s tongue. If your dog gets a cut on their tongue or inside their mouth, check to see if the bleeding stops after a few minutes. If not, bring your dog to the vet.
- If your dog’s mouth is healing, only feed your dog soft foods. Hard foods might irritate the area that is trying to heal.
- Rinse the area once or twice a day to remove extra food particles that may have been caught in the infected area
Consult your vet for more information on how to help your pup get back into tip-top shape!