No one wants to see their best friend in pain. If your dog is hurting, you’re hurting, too. There’s good news, though -- you can help your dog heal faster with the right knowledge and the right tools.
In this article, we will go over:
- What a wound to your dog looks like
- What to expect as your dog heals
- What you can do to help your dog heal faster
What does a wound to your dog look like?
You are relaxing at the dog park as your four-legged friend plays with his pals when you suddenly hear a yelp. It’s every dog owner’s worst nightmare, but also a very real concern when owning a dog. Dogs can find themselves in all sorts of situations -- at home and out in the world -- where they end up with a scratch or two. While your dog getting hurt is always bad news, the good news is that you can prepare to handle the situation safely and efficiently.
If the wound looks serious, take your dog to the vet ASAP. Significant bleeding, difficulty breathing, and excessive vomiting are all signs that your dog needs professional help.
If your pup is bouncing around as normal -- just with a scratch or two now -- and you think you can handle helping him yourself, you should first double check that the wound can heal at home.
Manageable “ouchies” to your dog are:
- Small (less than one inch in length)
- Clean (the edges of the wound are not torn or shredded)
- Located away from vital organs (any wounds on your dog’s abdomen or neck should always be examined by a veterinarian)
No matter the size of the wound, you (or a vet) should immediately begin to take care of it. Leaving a wound unattended greatly increases the risk of infection, which makes the healing process take longer than it should and puts your dog’s general health at risk.
Once you’ve determined that your dog’s wound is minor -- small, clean, and located away from especially important body parts -- or that he needs to see a vet, you can prepare to help Fido feel better, faster.
How does your dog’s injuries heal?
No matter if you are taking care of your dog at home, or if you’re helping him recover from a post-op trip to the vet, the healing process looks the same.
Here’s everything you need to know about the stages and speed of wound recovery.
The healing process for dog wounds happens in four stages:
Inflammation begins as soon as your dog gets hurt. While inflammation may not look pleasant, it is a key process for healing. Inflammation helps reduce any bleeding your dog is experiencing, and it prepares your dog’s immune system to fight off any potential bacteria.
Debridement begins a bit later, a few hours after your dog gets hurt. Debridement picks up where inflammation leaves off by producing fluids that carries away debris and tissue. It definitely sounds, and looks, unpleasant, but debridement is essential for healthy healing.
Repair begins days after getting hurt, and takes a few weeks to shrink and cover the wound. The process takes longer than inflammation and debridement because the body needs to produce collagen, a protein that helps reconnect tissue and blood vessels.
Maturation is the longest phase of healing. It can take a few weeks to begin, and can take months or years to finish. Once the collagen connects everything back together, skin (and eventually fur) begin to grow over the wound. While the skin and tissue likely won’t return to 100% of its original strength, your pup should be feeling much better by this point.
The details of the healing process can vary, of course, depending on the size and severity of the wound, and you should keep this in mind when monitoring your dog’s healing process.
The general rule of thumb, however, is that your dog should be feeling (and looking) better in a few weeks, and that you should be able to monitor the wound as it moves through the four stages of recovery.
What can you do to help your dog’s wound heal faster?
Now that you know what a wound looks like, and you know how to determine if you or a veterinarian should be the one to kickoff the healing process, we want to offer some solutions for a quicker and more pleasant recovery.
The first thing that you can do is make sure that the wound stays clean. This may mean that you need to remove any hair from the area before cleaning the wound itself. Here are details on how to quickly and safely remove hair from around your dog’s wound area. While shaving your dog may seem like a pain, and possibly unnecessary for particularly small wounds, it is a surefire way to make sure that bacteria and fungi don’t get too close to your dog’s wound.
The most important thing to remember is that your dog may be in pain, and that he may be scared. Move slowly, reassure him if you need to, and ask for help from a friend or a veterinarian if you think removing the hair might be too difficult for you to do by yourself.
Once the wound area is clear, you should plan to clean the wound at least daily, possibly more if needed. The cleaner you can keep the wound from the start, the faster your dog will feel better.
The second thing that you can do is make sure that your dog does not lick the wound. We’ve all seen at least one poor pooch wearing an Elizabethan collar as he walks down the street. While these collars look and feel a bit clunky for your dog, they are an efficient and inexpensive way to keep your dog from making the healing process take longer than it has to.
There is also a risk of your dog transferring bacteria from his mouth to his wound, so it is always better to opt for a protective medical collar if you’re not sure you can trust him to keep his tongue to himself. You can even fancy it up if you think it would make your dog (and you) more excited about it.
The third thing you can do is use a product like silver spray to help speed up the body’s healing process. What makes Silver Spray an effective and safe medicine is its composition. The spray is made up of a silver complex (a combination of silver and zinc oxide) that promotes faster and more effective healing.
Silver complexes are scientifically shown to have anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties -- this means that your dog is protected from bacterial and fungal infections that can appear if your dog gets hurt, has surgery, or has just has sensitive skin that becomes irritated on occasion.
Fauna Care’s Silver Spray also has a dimethicone base. Long story short, this means that the spray has an FDA-approved base that keeps the wound and skin protected by silicone. By keeping the skin moisturized, the spray allows the silver and zinc to absorb into the skin which promotes faster healing.
Finally, Fauna Care’s Silver Spray is, well, a spray. That may not sound like anything too special, but if your dog has a wound that is hard to reach or painful to the touch, you can avoid the stress and mess of non-spray alternatives.
No more seeing Spot run away from you as you try to apply his medicine. Instead, see Spot run around the yard, with a clean wound protected by Fauna Care’s silver spray.
We hope your dog never gets hurt. In case they do, we also hope that you feel confident in helping your dog feel better and heal faster so that he can get back to doing what he does best -- wagging his tail and enjoying his day as man’s best friend!