You’re coming back from the vet and your dog has staples, stitches, or some type of wound that will take awhile to get better. Your vet will have given you instructions on how to make sure your dog gets better as soon as possible with no complications. If you want to know more about the healing process so you know what to look out for and help the healing process along, you’ve come to the right place!
For minor injuries your dog may get at home, like cuts and burns, you don’t need a vet but a first-aid kit that contains Fauna Care healing sprays.
This article covers:
The best way to know if your dog’s wound is healing correctly is knowing what the four stages of healing are and what they should each look like. Once you know that, you should also be aware of the signs that tell you that something is wrong and the dog’s wound is not properly healing.
The first stage is inflammation, and this begins immediately after the wound is made. Blood clots form and blood vessels constrict so that the body stops the bleeding. Cells from the immune system also come into action as this stage to fight off harmful bacteria and any dead tissue. You’ll see at this stage the wound is likely red, swelling, and hot.
After a few hours, the dog’s wound will enter the debridement stage. This is when you’ll notice pus oozing out of the wound. This liquid flow’s purpose is to carry debris away. The inflammation stage had called cells to the site of the wound, and those cells are now consuming dead tissue and cleansing the affected area.
After a couple days, you’ll see signs of the repair stage. The wound fills with a protein called collagen that binds the torn tissue together. The binding will last several weeks before it’s done. You’ll notice the edges of the wound have a moist pink tissue that will in time fill in the wound. To make sure new skin can cover it, the wound will shrink.
Two or three weeks after the initial injury or operation, your dog will finally be in the last stage of healing, maturation. However, this healing stage can last months or possibly even years. Once enough collagen has been deposited, scarring will begin to form. With time new blood vessels and nerves grow in, making for a progressively stronger scar.
All is going well if you see the signs of each of the healing stages described above. However, there are signs to look out for that tell the wound is not properly healing. The wound can have an excessive amount of swelling or redness. Something is wrong if a foul odor is coming from the wound. If blood or other fluids are continuously dripping from the wound, or there is generally a large amount of it, that can be another cause for concern. You may want to contact your vet if you notice blood seepage that continues for more than 24 hours.
There are a lot of ways you can help your dog get better faster. These care habits should sound familiar, because they’re similar to how we would address our own wounds. Mostly, it involves keeping an eye on your dog and making sure they don’t do anything to interrupt the healing process.
Once you’ve familiarized yourself with how the wound ought to look according to the four stages of healing, you should regularly check to see the wound looks as it should. Check it twice a day. Take note of how large the wound is, how red and swollen it looks, and if it smells or has any pus. It can help to take a picture of the wound for easier comparison later on.
The wound will likely irritate your dog and make them uncomfortable, so they’re likely to try scratching the wound. They may do this by rubbing their par over it or biting at it. This can damage new tissue growing in, force out staples or stitches that aren’t ready to come out yet, or introduce infection. To prevent this, you can use an Elizabethan collar, the cone that wraps around a dog’s head to make it difficult for them to reach their wound.
You don’t want your dog to be too active after a big surgery or while they’re recovering from any major wound. Running, jumping, climbing up on furniture, or even going up or down the stairs can open up the wound again, which complicates and prolongs the healing process. Depending on the severity of the wound, you may have to restrict your dog’s activity from a few days to a couple weeks. When going outside, keep your dog on a leash and don’t let them get too excited. Keep walks short and easy.
Healing wounds can take a lot of time. Show your pup lots of love while they’re recovering to encourage them. If you see any warning signs that the wound isn’t healing correctly, don’t hesitate to call the vet about it. With patience the scar will be strong enough that you and your dog can go back to taking long walks and jumping onto sofas to cuddle.
Enjoy this article? We've covered more topics like this one on the Fauna Care pet care blog!