When your dog is injured, it's crucial to be a good pet parent and take care of your best friend. First aid classes for canine injuries are practically non-existent, so independent research and personal preparedness can be incredibly valuable. Dog wound ointment is a good example. In the unfortunate event of an injury, would you know how to render first aid to your dog or know if an ointment is appropriate for wound care?
As responsible, loving dog owners, we do whatever it takes to keep our furry friends happy and healthy. After an injury, it's essential to help your dog rebound with proper wound healing. It can make an enormous difference in their recovery time and even save them from serious, post-injury repercussions. Wounds can be nasty business, and we want to help educate dog lovers everywhere about the basics of proper wound care. So please, keep reading to learn more about wounds, skin infections, antibiotic ointment for dogs, and how you can help your pup recover from wound injuries.
What Is Dog Wound Ointment and When To Use It?
Dog wound ointment is a substance that forms a thin, protective barrier over the wound, relieves discomfort, and also fights bacteria that can lead to a severe infection. Also known as a three-way ointment for dogs, these products dedicated to antibiotic wound treatment can help minor or superficial wounds.
Dog wound care ointment is a great option, especially when dealing with:
- Surface scrapes, scratches, and abrasions. If your dog tumbles on a rough surface, their skin can get banged up. Wound aid ointment for dogs can help heal, protect the injury, and provide much-needed pain relief.
- A minor puncture wound or minor cut. A puncture wound may occur if your dog steps on a nail, sharp metal, broken glass, or plastic shards. Prompt use of wound ointments helps prevent an infection!
- Rashes, skin irritations, and hot spots. Bad bacteria can irritate your dog's skin-related issues and lead to excessive scratching. Ointment for dogs helps treat hot spots by combatting bacteria that inflame the skin.
- Infection prevention. Sometimes, a post-injury infection is more serious than the initial injury. Proper wound care with ointment can prevent or reduce infections from wounds.
Veterinarians may also recommend wound ointment or wound care spray gel following surgery or a major injury to help heal. However, with any ointment, it's essential to ensure it's for topical, external use so your pup can't ingest it by licking.
When To Take Your Dog to the Vet
Not every injury may seem serious at the time, but if left untreated, some can quickly become life-threatening. If your pup has a major wound or injury, remain calm and immediately take your dog to the veterinarian or go to an emergency animal hospital.
You should always get professional medical attention for the following:
- Deep puncture wounds, cuts, or excessive bleeding that you cannot control.
- Any foreign object embedded in the wound, such as glass, wood, plastic, or metal.
- Serious burns can lead to infection.
- Stomach, limb, or paw swelling. This can be the result of many possibilities. Don't wait — go to the vet immediately, especially if the swelling persists.
- Lingering pain or discomfort to get a proper diagnosis and obtain medication that quickly relieves pain to reduce unnecessary suffering.
- Animal bites of any kind, even small ones, may lead to infection.
- Snake bites or venomous insect bites.
- Torn skin after a dog fight or other altercation.
- Any type of accident involving a motor vehicle or bicycle.
- Head trauma, even if there is no visible injury.
- Limping or balancing issues of any kind.
- Difficulty breathing or noticeable rasping.
- Vomiting or diarrhea.
A good rule of thumb is that if you're unsure about taking your dog to the veterinarian and seeking treatment due to a wound, it's probably best to go in. At the very minimum, call your vet and seek prompt medical advice.
Supplies Needed for Dog Wound Care
Many people have a first aid kit gathering dust somewhere in a bathroom cabinet, but it's a good idea to include items that a dog may need in case of injuries. If you carry a kit in your car, consider adding supplies for your dog to that one as well.
Hopefully, you'll never need it, but a basic first aid kit for dog wound care should include:
- Self-adhesive, sterile bandages, not just small ones made for people.
- Saline solution and, if possible, soap and water.
- Antibacterial ointment that's safe for dogs.
- Tweezers or small forceps.
- Clean bandannas or towels for wraps, bandages, or broken limb support.
- Scissors for cutting bandages or towels.
- Muzzle. Even your best friend can lash out when injured and in pain.
If you don't have a first aid kit, you should start shopping for one. Hopefully, you or your dog will never need it. But it's always best to be prepared and have one at the ready.
Can You Use Neosporin on Dogs?
Yes, you can use Neosporin ointment for your four-pawed patient in an emergency. Johnson & Johnson makes Neosporin primarily for human use, not as an ointment for dog wound care.
Neosporin creates a thin barrier over the wound and contains three different antibiotics — bacitracin, neomycin, and polymyxin B. that fight bacteria and prevent infection. As an alternative to Neosporin, the pet-friendly antibiotic Mupirocin is also an option.
What to Know Before Using Neosporin on Your Dog
Before applying Neosporin to an injured dog, there are a few things to consider. In general, using small amounts of Neosporin will not harm your dog, but care and caution are warranted. Before spreading it over the entire wound, apply a small amount to determine if there's a visible, negative reaction.
Next, because a dog's instinct is to lick the wound (nature's method of cleaning it), you'll need to immediately bandage the wound to protect it. You don't want the dog to lick the infection-fighting ointment or ingest any ingredients.
You must also consider ways to keep your dog from licking the bandage. While we all know dogs hate wearing recovery cones — playfully known as the "cone of shame" — they can be vital in helping your pup heal from their injuries.
How To Clean and Treat Your Dog's Wound
Cleaning and treating the wound as soon as possible following an injury is critical. Never assume "nature" will take care of it. When your best friend sustains an injury, it's easy to become rattled, but you must remain calm and become an emergency caregiver.
Here's a quick checklist for emergency wound care:
- Stop the bleeding. As with human patients, place a bandage, clean bandana, or towel over the wound and apply gentle pressure until the bleeding stops or slows.
- Clean the wound. For most wounds, the first vital step is to gently clean them to avoid infection. Wash the wound with soap and water, rinse thoroughly, then gently wipe the entire area dry. If you can't stop the bleeding, wrap the wound and see your veterinarian or go to an emergency animal hospital ASAP.
- Remove foreign objects. If a nail, piece of wood, or other object is lodged in the wound, carefully and gently remove it using tweezers or forceps.
- Re-clean or disinfect the wound. After removal, re-clean the wound or use Neosporin (with the suggestions above) or the natural remedies we discuss below. It's essential to do all you can to prevent initial infection.
- Pat dry. Using a clean towel or bandana, gently pat the wound dry, then cover it with a bandage. Never use a dirty rag or shop towel.
- E-Collar or recovery cone. After the initial injury, consider using a plastic E-collar (the cone of shame) to prevent licking and reopening the wound. If you didn't know, E-collar stands for an "Elizabethan Collar," named after Queen Elizabeth I from the collar fashion of her era.
NOTE: When caring for a dog's wound, never use shampoos, rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or hydrocortisone products unless your veterinarian informs you to do so. These products can cause further irritation.
What Are the Best Natural Antiseptics for Open Wounds in Dogs?
When choosing an antiseptic product for wound care, caution is warranted to ensure they're safe for dogs. Fortunately, there are several holistic, natural antiseptic options available for topical use. However, we recommend contacting your veterinarian for advice regardless of which holistic option you choose.
The best natural antiseptics for dog wounds include:
- Witch Hazel. This is an all-natural astringent that helps with skin irritation to decrease scratching. Ensure it's vegetable glycerin-based and alcohol-free.
- Turmeric. With natural anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, turmeric is perfect for cleaning the wound and fighting infection from setting in. Turmeric is spicy, which also prevents licking.
- Coconut Oil. Providing a bounty of natural antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, coconut oil also contains lauric acid, which has anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-parasitic properties.
- Manuka Honey. Hailing from New Zealand, the Manuka Flower (Leptospermum scoparium) contains natural antibacterial compounds that create tiny amounts of hydrogen peroxide. Manuka honey also acts as a barrier and skin protectant like an ointment.
- Saline Solution. Simple, pure, saline solution works well for rinsing a wound and helping the skin tissue recover.
- Make Your Own Saline Solution. Mix 1 cup of boiling water with ½ teaspoon of salt and stir until the salt is fully dissolved. Wait until this mixture cools before applying, and never reuse it — always make a fresh batch.
Final Thoughts - Dog Wound Ointment
Dog parents know the joy that their furry friend brings into their lives. We want the best for them, but accidents happen, so be prepared to render first aid when needed. After treating the scratch, cut, or puncture, wound ointment can help prevent infection and help the healing process. If you have questions about treating the injury, never hesitate to call your vet, even for minor wounds.
In the event of a serious injury, visiting your vet or an emergency animal hospital is essential. Deep or severe wounds can be serious and cause genuine pain that may need professional medical attention. When in doubt, contact your vet, and in the meantime, ensure you purchase wound ointment and a first aid kit that's set for your pet!