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What to do if Your Dog has a Laceration

By: Dr. Debra Primovic

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One of the MOST common traumas seen in emergency rooms are lacerations. Dogs come in of all sizes and shapes with lacerations anywhere on the body.

Often, the history is that the dog was out in the yard playing and came in bleeding. The owner tries to figure out where the blood is coming from and find a laceration. Many times, the owner never figures out what cut their dog.

So...if this happens to your dog – what can you do?

First – gently and carefully (without getting bit) – figure out where the laceration is located. Part the hair and examine the wound. If it is superficial (like an abrasion or a "skinned knee) – you may be able to treat it at home. If the wound is deep – such as with a laceration that has penetrated the full thickness of the skin – then it is best to see your veterinarian. The wound may need special care including clipping, cleaning and suturing.

If it is a very superficial abrasion – you can clean the wound with a small amount of soapy warm water and dry the area. You can then place a small amount of antibiotic ointment on the wound.

If the wound is deeper – then if possible – gently bandage the area to minimize bleeding and keep the wound clean. You can use a small towel or other clean piece of fabric. Temporarily – you can secure the bandage with any tape that you have. Then immediately proceed to your veterinarian.

For more information – go to:

  • Bandaging Your Dog
  • Laceration in Dogs
  • What Is a Laceration Repair?


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