Though there is a lot of awareness about how to treat injuries like fractures or swelling as well as what to do when your dog gets diarrhea or vomits but not many people know how to handle dog burns. A common truth that every pet owner faces is that however careful you may be, sometimes accidents do happen. The majority of burn wounds in dogs occur in the home and are categorized as thermal (heat), chemical and electrical. We strongly advise you to take your dog to the vet immediately when burn accidents happen but in the meantime you should know these handy tips also:
- The least dangerous and easily treatable dog burns are superficial thermal burns which can be treated by immersion of the affected skin in cold water or by applying an ice pack. Then you should remove any hair or debris from the burn wound and gently pat dry. Do not use oil-based medications on a burn wound. Prefer medical creams which will help prevent infection and does not interfere with burn wound healing. Ask your vet to suggest such medicines to use just in case. A non-stick telfa pad can then be applied followed by a light bandage to hold it in place. If the burn wound becomes infected or is not healing, veterinary care is needed.
- A more serious burn is deep thermal burns which extend below the surface of the skin and require immediate veterinary care. You should place a cloth loosely over the burn area (Do not rinse with water or place any medications on the burn wound) and then head to a veterinarian immediately. Since these burn wounds are serious and very painful hence some dogs may even go into shock.
- Then there are Electrical burns which are usually the result of a dog biting into an electrical cord. These burns are seen on the lips and tongue (where the dog bit the cord) but the dog’s entire body received an electrical shock. If you see your dog bite an electrical cord, do not touch the dog or try to pull the cord from its mouth as you may get shocked. First pull the plug from the outlet before doing anything else. If your dog is unconscious then check for breathing and a heartbeat or pulse. If breathing or the heart has stopped you may need to perform CPR. Whenever your dog is a victim of any electrical burn or shock, even if he seems fine, seek immediate veterinary care.
- Lastly there are Chemical burns (acid or alkali compounds) which are most common as well. These may occur on the surface of the body or may be ingested. Rinsing the chemical off with water should be done as soon as possible. However, if you know the compound is an acid, you can rinse the area with baking soda dissolved in water. If the compound is alkaline, then vinegar and water may be used. If your dog ingested the compound, check the container to see if there is an antidote and seek veterinary care immediately.
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