Dogs will be dogs and accidents happen no matter how careful we are with our special needs and paralyzed pets. Wound management is something every pet parents should have a basic handle on but with our special needs animals, it becomes a bit more important. An infection could be a potentially life-threatening condition so keeping a wound clean is the #1 priority to help promote fast healing.
Keep the wound clean!
Trim or shave around the wound to keep the hair and fur out of the way, clean the area with warm water and salt (saline) mixture. Try to avoid soaps, hydrogen peroxide, and alcohols as this will dry out the wound and strip it of the good healing bacteria as well as the potentially bad bacteria.
Make sure you keep your dog from licking or chewing at their wound. This can cause the wound to get bigger and the more it is agitated the long it will take to heal. The longer a puncture is open and exposed to the elements, the more likely it is to develop an infection. Depending on your dog's tolerance there are many different ways to help keep your pup's mouth away from their cut, puncture, or incision. The classic plastic cone is what we see most often however in recent years it has been reimagined and designed to be more comfortable for the pets wearing them. The No-Cone Collar from Walkin' Pets keeps your dog's neck straight so they are unable to get to wounds.
Protect Wound While Exercising or at Play
Just because your dog has an injury doesn't mean they won't still want and need to exercise and play! If you have the all-clear from your dog's vet to bring your dog on walks and short play sessions you may want to cover the wound, for areas on the body some gauze and vet wrap will keep the dirt out of the open cut and for limb or paw wounds a splint can allow for exercise while protecting the healing process.
For paralyzed pets, you can get a drag bag that will totally cover their back legs. The drag bag is basically a protective sac that keeps your legs and lower body from getting abrasions from the ground and protecting existing wounds allowing them to heal.
Oftentimes, dogs with hind leg mobility problems will get pressure sores from where their joints come into contact with the ground when they lie down. Pressure sores can be extremely hard to heal so it is important to act quickly. The Hip- EEZ system has a donut attachment to help protect your dog's joint to prevent the pressure sore from forming or once it has, to give a cushion to the joint so it won't be in constant contact with the floor and reopening the wound.
For more information about pressure sores on dogs click here
While most small wounds and cuts can be treated at home it is best to bring your dog to see the vet for deep puncture wounds or a bite that fully penetrates the skin.
If you notice your dog's abrasion is getting red and puffy at the edges or you start to see pus, these are the beginning symptoms of an infection and it is important to book an appointment with your vet.
Finally, for wounds covering large portions of the body, a vet consultation will be required. These large wounds will be difficult to heal on your own and medical advice will be important for the health and happiness of your dog!