How To Clean A Wound On A Dog


how to clean a wound on a dog
Image by Gabriel Miguel Bero from Pixabay

It’s inevitable, as a dog owner, you’re going to have to learn how to clean a wound on a dog sooner or later. It’s just in the nature of dogs to be inquisitive and exuberant. So, by nature, they are constantly exploring their environment which often ends up in injuries.

Dog injuries usually run the entire gamut. Sometimes, they are really minor and nothing to worry about. Other times, they are life-threatening and need the urgent attention of a vet. Sometimes, it can be difficult to draw the dividing line between a wound you can manage at home and one that needs the intervention of the vet but we will give you some pointers.

Now, before we go into that, you want to keep in mind that wounds are painful, as it is with humans so it is with dogs. Your dog might never have bitten you or snapped at you before but even a seemingly tender injury can turn your sweet pet into a monster.

So, when handling your injured pet, you might want to enlist the help of another person so they can help to restrain him while you examine the injuries.

That said, here are some rules of thumbs when it comes to dog wounds and injuries.


Table of Contents

Some Handy Rules Concerning Dog Injuries

1. If It’s A Bite Wound, It Must Be Examined By A Vet

how to clean a wound on a dog
Image by skeeze from Pixabay


What Should I Do If My Dog Gets Bitten By Another Animal?

Sometimes, dogs get into scuffles with a cat, another dog, or a wild animal, and sometimes, that could end in biting. If your dog comes back with a bite wound, then you must go and see your vet immediately. That’s not something you should handle on your own.

For one, when animals bite, they also pass bacteria deep into the wounds even when the punctures are really tiny. So, in most cases, once there is a bite from another animal, antibiotics are always administered to get rid of infection.

Secondly, it’s possible that your dog might need a rabies shot especially if the animal that did the biting was a cat, a stray dog, or a wild animal.

Thirdly, bite wounds often aren’t all that they seem. They might seem benign and look like there’s nothing to worry about. Nevertheless, oftentimes, there’s underlying trauma experienced by surrounding tissues and muscles. This is particularly common if the dog is a small breed and was probably grabbed and/or shaken. Sometimes, there might even be internal bleeding.


2. If It’s A Puncture From An Unknown Source, It Must Be Treated By A Vet

A puncture wound can range from bite wounds from other animals, to gunshot wounds, to the penetration of a foreign body. There are times when a sharp object penetrates a part of the body and gets lodged in the wound.

In those cases, the wound might look small but the entrapment of a foreign body in a wound can delay healing and even cause infection and/or tetanus.

My Dog Got Shot, What Should I Do?

If your dog got shot, it’s important to take your dog to the vet immediately. The bullet would have to be carefully removed by a professional in order to facilitate healing. Your vet might also administer a tetanus shot to your dog to prevent infection if need be.


3. If A Wound Is More Than An Inch Long, On The Abdomen Or The Chest, Is Contaminated, Or Comes With Jagged Edges, It Must Be Treated By A Vet

Such wounds are practically impossible to treat at home yourself without putting yourself at the risk of getting injured or traumatizing the wound further.

Plus, wounds that occur on sensitive areas such as the abdomen or the chest are usually much more severe than they appear at first glance. These wounds are best examined and treated by a vet.

If the injury, however, is a small, superficial one on the limbs or on the face (not close to the eyes), you can manage that yourself at home. We’ll show you how later in the article.


4. Be Careful With The Use Of Hydrogen Peroxide In Treating Dog Wounds

Can You Use Hydrogen Peroxide On A Dog’s Wounds?

For many experts, you should not even use hydrogen peroxide at all to treat dog wounds. We will explain why later in this article. However, some say you can use it once to decontaminate the wound. They strongly advise, though, that you do not use it repeatedly. In fact, everyone agrees that there are better ways to clean dog wounds than to use hydrogen peroxide.

Hydrogen peroxide irritates tissues violently and can even impede healing if you use it repetitively. So, only use it once and that to decontaminate if you must. 

Generally, you want to avoid using alcohol on your dog’s wounds. They sting like a thousand burning needles and could provoke a normally well-behaved dog to either snap or even bite.


5. If The Wound Looks Minor, Is Less Than An Inch In Length, And Comes With Clean Edges, You Can Treat It At Home

Minor wounds that do not fall into any of the categories listed above can be treated at home by yourself. Here’s how you can treat them below. 


How Do You Clean A Dog’s Wound At Home?

There are three methods you can use to clean a dog’s wound at home.

First is the use of a saline solution. A saline solution has antimicrobial properties that help to decontaminate the site of the wound.

Secondly, you can also use a disinfectant such as povidone-iodine or chlorhexidine to treat dog wounds at home. When using a disinfectant, please, avoid those that contain phenols such as Lysol or Dettol. Such disinfectants are toxic for pets.

Lastly, you can use 3% hydrogen peroxide diluted in water in the ratio 1:3 of hydrogen peroxide to water. Please, only use hydrogen peroxide if you’re hard-pressed and a saline solution or disinfectant is unavailable. The use of hydrogen peroxide in treating pet wounds, even after dilution, is quite risky for pets.


1. Using A Saline Solution



[amalinkspro type=”showcase” asin=”B072N7WRHS” apilink=”″ new-window=”true” addtocart=”true” nofollow=”true” sc-id=”4″ imgs=”LargeImage” link-imgs=”false” specs=”renu ADVANCED FORMULA: Our newest contact lens innovation, this multi-purpose solution has a triple disinfectant that works in only 4 hours to kill 99.9% of germs1. Hydrate your lenses for all-day comfort.~~~MULTI-PURPOSE LENS SOLUTION: renu multipurpose contact lens solution can be used daily to clean your lenses, store them in a contact lens case when not being worn, or disinfect and rinse lenses.~~~SIMPLIFY YOUR CONTACT LENS CARE: Go beyond clean and keep your contacts feeling clean and comfortable with renu contact solution.~~~renu FROM BAUSCH + LOMB: renu Advanced Formula is our newest innovation in lens care & replaces both renu fresh & renu sensitive with one solution created to help enhance your lens wearing experience.~~~BAUSCH + LOMB CONTACT LENS SOLUTION: Go beyond clean with renu. Nothing disinfects better2.~~~” btn-color=”#ff9900″ btn-text=”View on Amazon” alignment=”aligncenter” hide-prime=”0″ hide-image=”0″ hide-reviews=”0″ hide-price=”1″ hide-button=”0″ width=”750″]ReNu Bausch + Lomb renu Lens Solution Advanced Triple Disinfect Formula Multi-Purpose, 12 Ounce Bottle Twinpack[/amalinkspro]


Your first line of defense should be a saline solution. You can either use those you find in first aid boxes or you can also use your contact lens cleaning solution. If you don’t have any of those, you can also prepare your own saline solution at home (we will show you how). Any of these fluids are great for cleaning wounds on dogs.

Saline solutions have a mild antibacterial property. Plus, saline, if made correctly, is similar to body tissues in makeup. It is also quite gentle on the healing cells as well.

Now, here’s the thing about using a saline solution to clean a wound on a dog. You want to flood the wound with the solution. So, you’re going to be washing and washing and washing by squirting the saline solution (preferably from a syringe) onto the affected part of the body.

See also  What To Do If Your Dog Eats Chocolate: Home Remedies

Doing this will flush all contaminants and debris from the site of the injury.


How Do You Make Saline Solution At Home?

If you don’t have a saline solution at home, here’s how to make one for your pet.

  • First, you boil some water.
  • When the water boils, pour out a cup of the water and add half a teaspoon of salt into the water.
  • Stir the salt into the water to dissolve it and then leave the solution to cool.

Please note that for each time you need a saline solution, you should make a fresh one to prevent contamination.


2. Using Disinfectant Solutions

how to clean a wound on a dog

If your pet first aid kit contains a pet disinfectant, great. Just keep in mind that not every disinfectant that you use in your house is safe for use on an animal. For instance, if a disinfectant contains phenols, it should not be used on an animal as some find PineSol and Lysol very toxic. Examples of such disinfectants are Dettol and Lysol.

So, ensure that the disinfectant you’re using does not contain phenol. You can tell from the packaging or simply dissolve it in water. If the disinfectant turns cloudy when diluted in water, then it’s phenolic.

Safer options when considering disinfectants include povidone-iodine and chlorhexidine. Now, make sure you dilute the disinfectant if the disinfectant is not already diluted. You must dilute the disinfectant according to the strength stated on the label. When disinfectants are concentrated, they kill bugs and they also damage living tissue and delay healing. So, it is important to get dilution right.

how to clean a wound on a dog


3. Using Hydrogen Peroxide

how to clean a wound on a dog

Right now, this is still a bone of contention in the world of veterinary medicine and we will get to why later. However, some experts are convinced that if you get the dilution right, you should be able to use hydrogen peroxide to clean a wound on a dog.

They suggest that you dilute 3% hydrogen peroxide in the ratio 1:3 of hydrogen peroxide to water. When diluted to this degree, some experts agree that it is now safe to use on minor dog wounds.

Check out this video for a video demonstration of how to clean a dog’s wound at home and when it’s time to take your dog to the vet.


Natural Preparations For Cleaning Dog Wounds

If you prefer to go the natural route in treating your dog, here is a guide to get that done.


What Are Natural Topical Remedies For Dog Wounds?

There are many natural topical remedies for dog wounds and they include:

  • Herbal tea rinses such as the blossoms of calendula, as well as the leaves and blossoms of lavender.
  • Vinegar rinse (ACV and white vinegar).
  • Willard water.
  • Unrefined sea salt.
  • Aromatherapy.
  • Coconut oil.
  • EMT gel.
  • Tree resin, PAV ointment, and pitch.



Herbal Tea Rinses

A strongly brewed herbal tea can help in the cleaning of dog wounds. Whether used as a rinse, a wash, a compress, or a spray, herbal teas encourage healing when used on wounds on dogs.

Some herbs which are well known to be great at skin healing include the root and leaves of comfrey (Symphytum officinale), the blossoms of St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum), the blossoms of calendula (Calendula officinalis), the leaves of narrrow- or broad-leaved plantain (Plantago spp.), as well as the leaves and blossoms of lavender (Lavandula angustifolia).

how to clean a wound on a dog


You can choose to plant these herbs yourself for future use but if you don’t have any planted already, you can also buy from the markets. There are herbal companies that sell dried herbs used in the treatment of wounds.

If you plan to grow some of these herbs, you’ll find lavender and comfrey the easiest grow. They are perennials and much easier to cultivate than the others mentioned above.

Comfrey is a popular herb for cleaning wounds in dogs because of its allantoin component. Allantoin is a substance in comfrey which triggers cell growth. In fact, initially, comfrey used to be called “knit bone” because it also helps to heal fractured bones when applied on the site topically.

Comfrey works really fast which is why it is not advised to apply it on sutures that you’d have to remove or punctures that are supposed to heal slowly to prevent the entrapment of bacteria which could happen when skin heals too fast.

For scrapes, burns, insect bites, cuts, and similar injuries, though, comfrey works great.

Besides comfrey, you could also use teas containing German chamomile, Roman chamomile, or lavender. These herbs are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and can help to reduce discomfort and itching.

how to clean a wound on a dog
German Chamomile

If you want to brew herbal tea for the treatment of your dog’s wound, boil some water and then add two teaspoons of either fresh or dried herbs. Cover the cup and let the tea steep until it’s cool. Then strain and keep in the fridge.

Roman Chamomile Essential Oil Ultra-Premium 100% Pure Therapeutic Grade - 10ml By Avíanō Botanicals

You can apply the tea to the wound several times a day as needed.


Vinegar Rinse

Apple cider vinegar is not new on the stage of natural first aid. It can be used on wounds, cuts, skin infections, dull coats, itchy areas, and calluses. It helps to soothe the skin, improve a dog’s coat, repel fleas and ticks, and also helps the healing process of wounds.

You can prepare a skin tonic for your dog’s wound using this ancient recipe:

Get some rosemary leaves (fresh or dry), rose petals, calendula blossoms, the flowers or stalks of lavender, juniper berries, orange peel, lemon peel, cinnamon, sage, cloves, and then you can add some chamomile blossoms if you want.

Put these herbs in a jar. They should only take up one-third of the jar. Then cover these herbs with some apple cider vinegar (preferably organic and unpasteurized). Seal the jar tightly and let it stand in a warm place. You can place it out in the sun for at least, 30 days or longer.

Bragg Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar, 32 Ounce - 1 Pack

Afterward, strain and store in bottles in a place that’s cool and dark. Make sure you shake the bottle well before applying on the wound or using it on any other part of the body you intend to use it on.

If your dog has a white or light-colored coat, then substitute apple cider vinegar for plain white vinegar.

Daily Chef Distilled White Vinegar 2/1 gallon jugs (2 Pack) (4 PACK)



Willard Water

Dr. Willard's Willard Water ULTIMATE Dark Concentrate Quart 32 Oz

You can add Willard Water concentrate to some water, or hydrosols or herbal teas. It should be mixed at the ratio of one teaspoon to one quart of water. This will help the liquid to really penetrate the wound in order to speed up the healing of the wound. The Willard Water remedy also works for cuts, burns, and other such injuries.


Unrefined Sea Salt

Aztec Coarse Unrefined Sea Salt 100% Natural Gourmet Kosher, 8oz

Even when you use herbal teas to treat wounds, you can add a bit of unrefined sea salt to the mix as well. These mineral-rich salts, when added to strain chamomile tea, make excellent eyewashes. You should add about one-eighth of a teaspoon of salt per cup of tea.

For wounds on the skin, get 4 cups of any of the teas described in the aforementioned numbers. Add three-quarters of a cup of aloe vera gel or juice to it as well as half a cup of unrefined sea salt.

Whole Raw Aloe Vera Juice 32 fl. oz.

Salt is so great for wounds, even the plain salt water (saline solution) also works as we have seen mentioned above. It even helps for sore throats in dogs as well.



Plant Therapy Rose Organic Hydrosol 4 oz By-Product of Essential Oils

Hydrosols, also known as flower waters, are produced alongside essential oils during steam distillation. Hyrdosols usually contain essential oils in trace amounts. Therefore, hydrosols are pretty much like herbal teas with a hint of super dilute essential oils. This makes them safe to apply on geriatric as well as puppy dogs.

Hydrosols are not as expensive as essential oils, however, they are notorious for their shorter shelf lives. If you want your hydrosols to last, then buy from a reputable supplier and always keep them in the refrigerator.

The best hydrosols to get when it comes to cleaning wounds include lavender with helichrysum, witch hazel (Hamamelis virginana), immortelle/everlasting (Helichrysum italicum), oregano (Origanum vulgaris), and tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia).

Now the thing with essential oils is that though they have fantastic healing properties, they are too strong to be used on wounds directly. Plus, they tend to be too much for a dog’s olfactory system which is already very sensitive on its own. For this reason, therefore, you can dilute essential oils greatly and still not lose any healing power.

According to Kristen Leigh Bell (author, Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals), you should dilute your essential oil by adding ten drops to a tablespoon of base oil when applying topically on your dog. This way, it’s gentler on the wound and even more affordable for you.

If you want your remedy to be even more potent, you can use either tamanu or Calophyllum oil as your base oil. Calophyllum oil is one of the best oils when it comes to healing wounds, rashes, burns, broken capillaries, insect bites, eczema, skin cracks, psoriasis, as well as other skin conditions.

Pur360 Tamanu Oil - Pure Cold Pressed - Best Treatment for Psoriasis, Eczema, Acne Scar, Foot Fungus, Rosacea - Relief for Dry, Scaly Skin, Scalp and More

You can use this oil in its full strength or you can also dilute it in olive oil, jojoba oil, other such base oils.

PS: You can turn just about any herbal oil into a salve simply by adding a thickener or beeswax.


Coconut Oil

Dr. Bronner's - Organic Virgin Coconut Oil (White Kernel, 14 ounce) - Coconut Oil for Cooking, Baking, Hair & Body, Unrefined & Fresh-Pressed, Mild Flavor, Versatile, Fair Trade, Vegan, Non-GMO

Coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides which help to fight bacteria, yeasts, fungi, parasites, and even viruses. They are a great salve and can be used in the dressing of wounds and cuts of all kinds.

See also  How Long After Flea Treatment Can I Bathe My Dog?

But here’s the thing about coconut oils, once the temperature drops below 75 degrees Fahrenheit, it becomes solid. So, you might have to store in it a small bottle so you can heat it in up in some hot water when you need it.

Coconut oil makes a great carrier for most essential oils. However, dogs usually love its flavor and are quick to lick it off when applied. We will, therefore, recommend that you only apply it if the location of the wound is in a place your dog can’t reach with his tongue.



The key ingredient in EMT Gel is collagen. This is the same collagen found in muscles skin, ligaments, cartilage, bone, and connective tissues of the body. 

Trophy EMT Gel Colagen Wound Dressing for Pets, 1-Ounce

The bovine collagen in EMT is specially processed and works as a tissue adhesive when applied. It helps to provide a matrix on which new cells can grow. It also helps to seal and protect wounds, and reduces the bleeding, pain, wound weeping, scarring, and risk of infection that comes with wounds.

Once EMT is applied on the wound, you don’t need to do anything else which makes dressing changes easier and simpler. The EMT encourages clotting which stops bleeding. Occlusion of the nerve endings by EMT also helps to reduce pain.

Many vets recommend EMT Gel for lacerations, abrasions, gunshot wounds, skin ulcers, first-degree and second-degree burns, bites, frostbites, electrical injuries, IV and suture sites, post-surgical incisions, skin grafts, and other similar wounds.

You can purchase EMT Gel in 1-ounce tubes and the gel usually has up two years of shelf life.

Besides EMT Gel, manufacturers of this product also have the spray version of this gel which caters to scratches, scrapes, and other similar minor injuries. The great thing about this spray is that it is non-toxic, and even better, it tastes really bitter so you dog won’t lick it off.

Emt Spray for Pets, 1 Ounce


Tree Resin, PAV Ointment, and Pitch

Tree resin or pitch has powerful antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. In fact, for centuries, pitch from coniferous trees in the United States have been used as a folk remedy for many skin infections, spider bites (brown recluse and black widow), flea and tick bites, bee and wasp stings, rashes from poison oak and poison ivy, gum infections, staph ringworm, scalds and burns, surgical incisions, and lots more.

Pitch can either be used in its full strength or you can add it to a herbal salve or oil in any proportion.

Now, pitch is quite sticky. If you want to reduce that and make it spread more easily, you can simply mix it with some olive oil or any other carrier oil.

Currently, pitch is commercially produced by a company known as NATR. their products range from full-strength pitch, to diluted pitch with olive oil as the carrier, and PAV salve (Pitch and Vaseline petroleum jelly) which is the company’s most popular product.

All three products are safe to be used on pets. However, ensure that you keep them away from your pet’s eyes as well as their mucous membranes. You must also ensure that flammable pitch does not get anywhere close to flame or fire.


What Internal Supplements Can Help To Accelerate The Healing Of Wounds In Dogs?

The most important mineral when it comes to wound healing is zinc which can be found in products like Standard Process Dermal Support. Other supplements that can also help include Seacuyre, Colostrum, Wobenzym, Arnica Tincture.


There a number of minerals and vitamins which are believed to aid the healing of wounds. However, zinc happens to be the most important of them all when it comes to wound healing.

By adding a product like Standard Process Dermal Support to your dog’s diet, you can help speed up the skin-healing process in your dog. Products like Standard Process Dermal Support are rich in skin-healing ingredients like zinc and other similar ingredients typically sourced from whole foods.

Standard Process Canine Dermal Skin Support 125 Grams

Being supplied with these nutrients, the body assimilates them easily and uses them to repair damaged tissues.

You find zinc in unrefined sea salt. The electrolytes in salt also help to promote immune function, adrenal health, bodily fluid regulation, and, of course, rapid wound healing. You should add one-eighth of a teaspoon of unrefined sea salt to your dog’s daily food per 25 pounds of body weight.

Below are some other natural supplements that accelerate the healing process of wounds in dogs.


1. Seacure

Seacure is a high-quality protein and aids the rapid healing of wounds as well as the repair of damaged skin and fur. The product is gotten from the fermentation of deep-sea whitefish powder. This powder is firstly predigested into amino acids and peptides, and it is then absorbed by the body and utilized to build hair and skin.

Standard Process Canine Dermal Skin Support 125 Grams

You find this product as chewable treat tablets or as a powder, or as 500-milligram capsules.

For dogs with cuts, wounds, fractured bones, trauma injuries, or dogs that are recovering from surgery, you should give them a capsule, a tablet, or a quarter teaspoon of powder for every 10 pounds of his body weight.


2. Colostrum

Colostrum is the first milk that a mammal produces after birth. It is rich in immune-boosting nutrients and has, consequently, become very popular as a supplement. A few holistic vets such as Stephen Blake (DVM), San Diego, apply colostrum to wounds and cuts, and also feed it to injured animals to aid recovery.

According to Blake, it’s the best topical agent he has used for any wound in dogs and works twice as fast as other products he has used.

Colostrum is rich in IngF (insulin-like growth factor) and EgF (epithelial growth factor). These growth factors help to fix up damaged cells and even if a patient is well fed, in the absence of these growth factors, they are unlikely to recover.

From research, the hydrochloric acid content as well as the salivary amylase in the stomach help to improve the activity of the growth factors in the colostrum. For this reason, Dr. Blake advises that you feed colostrum to your dog on an empty stomach, at least, 30 minutes before food. Most dogs love it this way but in the off chance that yours doesn’t, you can mix it in with his food.

For faster healing, you could administer colostrum twice to thrice daily at a dose of ⅓ teaspoon powder or one 500-milligram capsule for every 25 pounds of dog body weight each day.

If applying topically, dissolve the colostrum powder in sufficient water, hydrosol, or herbal tea. This will form a paste which you can apply directly to the wound. For the next five minutes after application, engage your dog in an activity so he’s distracted enough to not want to lick off the paste. In five minutes, the paste should have been absorbed and you can leave your dog be.

Don’t cover up the wound, leave it open so it can breathe. Then keep applying colostrum twice daily until the wound heals sufficiently.



WOBENZYM N Wobenzym N 100 TAB

This is a German enzyme and you are to administer it to your dog on an empty stomach in between meals. Wobenzym is not only given to dogs, it’s also given to humans who have just come out of surgery or an accident. 

The enzyme is usually administered in large doses to speed up healing, as well as to prevent tenderness, bruising, and swelling. You can give it to your dog after an injury or after surgery.

Cuts, bruises, trauma injuries, surgical incisions, and corneal ulcers respond to Wobenzym quickly. The enzyme breaks down inflammation, prevents swelling, and ultimately speeds up healing.

For most dogs, a dosage of a tablet per ten pounds of dog body weight (no more than 5 tablets per time) administered every couple of hours is enough. You can continue this dosage for as many days as needed.

Once the wound has started to heal, you can reduce it to a maximum of 5 tablets twice to thrice daily.

Now, please note that Wobenzym tends to thin the blood. So, if your dog has a platelet or bleeding disorder, then do not administer Wobenzym. Side effects of Wobenzym in such dogs include pale gums, bloodshot eyes, blood spots on the gums, as well as any abnormal bleed. If you notice any of the above symptoms, discontinue the product.


Arnica Tincture

 Herb Pharm Certified Organic Arnica Liquid Extract for Minor Pain Support - 1 Ounce

Arnica tincture is a first aid box staple. However, if you know this product well, you probably know it is strictly for external use only. Most herbalists in the US warn against administering arnica tincture on open wounds or internally as it’s a powerful heart stimulant.

However, the truth is that when taken in small doses, you can actually use arnica tincture to stop internal bleeding as well as to stimulate healing especially if the dog has suffered some trauma injuries.

In the case of an emergency, administer a drop of arnica tincture directly on to your dog’s tongue or you can dilute it in water for every 15 pounds of your dog’s weight twice to four times daily.


Barefoot Outdoors

Yeah, believe it or not, this works. Simply staying under mother nature’s unfiltered light can help to improve overall health. Direct contact with the earth also helps too.

When we don’t get sufficient natural health, it could disrupt endocrine function and also slow down healing as well. Naturally, dogs like to stay under the natural light and also like to be in contact with the bare grass.

Health researcher, Dale Teplitz, explains that simply standing on bare earth can help to decrease inflammation and also improve circulation both in dogs and in people.

See also  How To Get Dog Pee Out Of Mattress

Naturally, when we suffer injuries, our immune system sends scavengers to location of the injury to help break down damaged tissues so they can be taken out of the body.

Contact with the earth supplies the body with unlimited free electrons which help to neutralize the excess free radicals responsible for inflammation in the body.


How Do You Clean An Open Wound On A Dog?

Here’s how to treat an open wound on a dog:

  • Clean the wound with a saline solution to remove any sticky debris or crustiness. Make sure the edges are always clean as that reduces the chances for a re-infection and also gives room for new and healthy tissues to form.
  • Give your dog all his medications as prescribed by the vet. Even if your dog begins to heal, please do not discontinue the antibiotics.
  • Do not let your dog lick or chew on his wound. You can prevent this by getting your dog an Elizabethan collar.
  • You must keep the skin from healing too quickly, especially if it’s an abscess that has just been lanced and drained surgically that you’re dealing with. Wounds that close too quickly can risk a reoccurrence.


Sometimes, a wound needs to remain open in order to heal nicely. For instance, for abscesses, the wound needs to stay open so that it drains properly and chances of reinfection are eliminated. For most cases, wounds are closed and sutured to speed up healing. However, if the wound is deeply contaminated or infected, the wound will be left open for the purpose of drainage.



The Original Comfy Cone, Soft Pet Recovery Collar with Removable Stays,Large 25 cm


What To Clean An Open Wound Wound With

You can use warm tap water to clean most open wounds. You could also use a warm saline solution as well as we described earlier. Other cleansing solutions you can use to clean an open wound include dilute chlorhexidine, iodine solution, or surgical soap can be used to clean dirt and debris from the face of the wound.

Betasept Antiseptic Surgical Scrub 4% Chlorhexidine Gluconate, 4 Oz

Please, be careful not to use rubbing alcohol, soaps, shampoos, tea tree oil, or hydrogen peroxide to clean an open wound unless your vet expressly says so.

Some of them are toxic to dogs if taken internally. Others might delay the healing process.

In some cases, your vet might prescribe an antibiotic cream to apply over the wound. Other times, your vet might prescribe antibiotics for your dog to swallow.

Now, dogs tends to lick on their wounds, and, therefore, inadvertently swallow the topical medications applied. For this reason, it’s not advisable to use human antiseptics on animals.

You can also use sugar to treat an open wound. Watch the video below to learn how:


How Do You Keep An Open Wound From Closing Too Early?

To keep the wound from closing too early, you should massage the skin surrounding the wound gently to promote drainage. While doing this, you might notice that the wound releases some discharge or bleeds a little. Observe the discharge to see if it’s infected. If it’s infected, it would appear thick and colored, if it’s not, it would appear thin and clear. Whatever the type, allow it to drain away. However, if for a couple of consecutive days, the discharge remains yellow, green, or bloody, then consult your vet.


How To Clean A Wound On A Dog’s Face

Cleaning an injury around your dog’s face and nose can be quite stressful. Nevertheless, it’s a skill every dog owner should have as it could come in handy someday.

Dogs that have hurt themselves, especially when the injury is around the face can get really nervous and touchy as they are in a lot of pain. So, you must treat your dog with care and caution.

There are two methods to doing this.


1. The Bandage Method

First, apply some pressure if the wound is still bleeding. You can do this using either a soft towel or a piece of gauze to apply some pressure on the wound to stop the flow of blood. If your dog is wiggling around, this might take more time. Getting a second hand to restrain your dog while you apply the pressure will be a great idea.

After you’ve been able to stop the bleeding, rinse off the face of the wound using warm water. Water is great because it does not irritate the wound and helps to flush out debris and other bits that might have gotten onto the surface of the wound.

Next, remove the fur around the site of the wound either using a pair of scissors or electric clippers. This will be especially important if your dog has long hair.

oneisall Dog Shaver Clippers Low Noise Rechargeable Cordless Electric Quiet Hair Clippers Set for Dog Cat

Doing this keeps the area clean and will prevent excess hair from irritating the wound when you eventually apply the bandage. Ensure that you remove all the clipped fur so it doesn’t remain on the wound.

Then disinfect the wound using a saline solution, dilute chlorhexidine, and betadine. Do not use hydrogen peroxide as this will only aggravate the wound further.

Now, it’s time to apply the bandage. You’re better off using a square bandage, and to keep your dog from pawing at it, get him an Elizabethan collar else you’d have to keep your eye on him all day so that if he takes out the bandage, you’ll be on hand to replace it.

Band-Aid Brand Tru-Stay Clear Spots Discreet First Aid and Wound Care for Minor Cuts and Scrapes, All One Size, 50 Count


2. Clean And Air

First, remove the hair around the site of the injury with the use of clippers or scissors. If it’s a bleeding wound, then take care of the bleeding the way we have shown you. However, this method is best for wounds that are not actively bleeding. 

You must take your time clipping the fur so that the hair does not enter the wound and cause further irritation.

Next, wash the wound using warm water to remove all the hair from the clipping. Do not use hot or cold water as it could make your dog uncomfortable. Stick with warm water.

Make sure you take out dirt, debris, and grime that might have accumulated on the wound.

Apply an antiseptic to the wound that’s safe for dogs to use. Make sure you’re gentle with the antiseptic and never put it directly onto the wound. Use a cotton ball or a small cloth to apply the antiseptic onto the wound.

Do not use Q-tips, they are poky and you might accidentally stab the wound with them which will only make matters worse.

Next, apply some antibacterial ointment on the wound. Since you’re not using a bandage, this will ensure that the wound remains clean and free from  harmful microorganisms. 

Now, you want to make sure you don’t apply too much. Also, make sure that your dog doesn’t lick it off the wound.

Clean the site of the wound with antiseptic twice to thrice daily till you can get your dog in to see the vet. Make sure you also monitor your dog closely to see if the wound is getting further irritated or if he seems to be getting more stressed.


Check out these other helpful articles below:



Why Shouldn’t You Use Hydrogen Peroxide To Clean A Wound On A Dog?

When people see hydrogen peroxide bubbling on wounds, they assume it’s a good sign, believing the hydrogen peroxide is dealing with the harmful bacteria present. However, while that is true, something else is also true. Your dog’s body cells (fibroblasts) which are supposed to help heal the wound are also being destroyed. So, while hydrogen peroxide might indeed help to disinfect the wound, it’s also delaying the healing process as well. This is why hydrogen peroxide is not recommended for the cleaning of wounds in dogs.


When To Use Hydrogen Peroxide For Pets

If you want to get your pet to throw up at home, having hydrogen peroxide on hand does come in handy. However, ensure that you stick to 3% hydrogen peroxide. 

Please, be careful with inducing vomiting and don’t make the decision on your own. In some cases, it might be more dangerous for your pet to vomit the poison than for him not to.

So, to be absolutely sure, you can call the pet poison helpline or the local animal ER before trying to induce vomiting. If they give you the go-ahead, then you can do just that with 3% hydrogen peroxide. The steps are quite easy to follow and as long as you do them right, you can safely get your dog to throw up whatever he might have ingested that’s poisonous to him with the help of hydrogen peroxide.

To learn how to do this, click here to read What To Do If My Dog Ate Chocolate: Home Remedies.

Finally, hydrogen peroxide can also help in the de-skunking of dogs as well.






How To Clean A Wound On A Dog — Related FAQs

What Antiseptic Can I Use On My Dog?

Antiseptics like povidone-iodine or chlorhexidine are safe to use in treating dog wounds. Others like Dettol or Lysol are not safe as they contain phenols which are toxic to pets.


Can I Use Neosporin On My Dog?

For minor scrapes and cuts, Neosporin is safe to use on dogs. Neosporin helps to prevent infection and can also keep your dog from scratching or licking his wounds.

Remember to use an Elizabethan collar after applying the ointment to keep your dog from licking the ointment off of the wound.


How Do You Tell If A Dog Wound Is Infected Or Healing?

In a wound that’s healing, you should see the swelling and redness reduce over time because the tissues are beginning to regenerate. After that, you should notice pink, shiny skin begin to form which will harden to form a scab after a few days.

Infected wounds, on the other hand, will show the following symptoms: inflammation, redness, heat, lethargy, fever, loss of appetite, hair loss at the site of the wound, bleeding, weeping, or oozing skin.


What Can You Put On An Open Wound On A Dog?

You can use warm tap water and warm saline solution to clean most open wounds. But besides these, you can also use dilute chlorhexidine, iodine solution, or surgical soap to clean dirt and debris from the face of the wound.

Be careful not to use substances like rubbing alcohol, soaps, shampoos, tea tree oil, or hydrogen peroxide as these substances are toxic to dogs. If used, they could delay the healing process of the wound.


Can You Put Vaseline On A Dog Wound?

When treating dog wounds, applying a water-based lubricant can help to reduce chances of contamination. It can also help to make the hair around the wound easier to shave.

The problem with Vaseline is that it is an oil-based lubricant. Plus, dogs can easily lick it off their wound which can cause diarrhea or vomiting in dogs if ingested in sufficient amounts.


How Long Do Dog Wounds Take To Heal?

For simple, uncomplicated cuts and wounds, about 10 days is sufficient for the wound to heal completely.

More complicated wounds, especially those around moving body parts like paws, pads, or joints, naturally, take longer. This could range between 14 days and 3 weeks.

Open wounds take the longest to heal, usually needing about 3 weeks to 6 weeks to heal.