Seeing your pet hurt is upsetting, so mastering basic first aid for your furry friends’ cuts and scrapes may help you feel more at ease when injuries happen. Before you begin, the first rule in dealing with pet injuries is to avoid injury yourself. Even normally placid pets can scratch or snap at you when they’re frightened or in pain, so take precautions to keep both of you protected. Ask for a helping hand if you need it.
If a cut is bleeding, address that first. Apply direct, firm pressure using a clean, dry cloth to help stop the bleeding and encourage clot formation. If the bleeding soaks through the cloth, place more clean cloths on top of the soiled cloth, so as not to disturb any clots that may have formed.
Assess next: Once the bleeding has stopped, gently remove the cloths and check to see how deep the cut is. If it looks deep, protect the wound from contamination with a clean cloth and head to your regular veterinarian or emergency clinic.
Clean and clear:
If the cut is superficial and your pet won’t need stitches, clean the wound before bandaging. Use a mild soap and plenty of warm water or saline to flush the cut. If possible, clip the surrounding fur so that it does not get into the wound. Apply antibiotic ointment to the cut before bandaging.
Wrap it up: Use a non-stick, absorbent pad to cover the wound before wrapping the area snugly (not tightly) with 3 or 4 inch gauze. Then cover the gauze wrap with an elastic tape bandage, applied just tightly enough to cling to the affected area (err on the side of loose – you don’t want to cut off circulation!).
Keep a close eye: Change the bandage daily and check the bandage site at least twice a day. If you see swelling or extensive redness, take your pet to the vet to get a better look.