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Dog Wounds and Surgical Incisions – Should I Take My Dog to the Vet?

January 12, 2010 By: admin Category: All Sick Dog Blog Posts, Dog First Aid and Veterinary Emergencies, Dog Injuries, Dog Surgeries and Incisions, Dog Symptoms, Dog Wounds and Infections, General Dog Health, Symptoms of Infection in Dogs

Click to Learn More – Pet Botanics E-Collars to Prevent Dogs from Licking Wounds

If your dog has a wound, it’s important to know when you need to take the dog to the veterinary clinic. You need to know when it’s okay to treat a dog’s wound at home and when a dog needs stitches, antibiotics or other treatment.

Immediately following a dog fight or accident that results in a dog with a cut or other wound, the first step is to clean the dog’s wound – this will need to be done regardless of whether the wound will need stitches or additional treatment at the veterinary clinic. Pet owners should always clean a dog’s wound at home before bringing the pet to the veterinary clinic, unless there is serious bleeding or other injuries that could be life threatening (i.e. broken bones, eye injuries, possible internal injuries from getting hit by a car, etc.)

“Is My Dog’s Wound Infected? Should I Take My Dog to the Vet?”

There are several situations that warrant a trip to the veterinary clinic for antibiotics, stitches or wound debridement (cleaning the wound and removing dead or damaged tissue.) These include:



  • Symptoms of Infection in the Dog’s Wound
  • A Dog with Bite Wounds (oral antibiotics are required to prevent infection in a bite wound)
  • Wounds Involving the Eye or Eyelid
  • Wounds Involving the Dog’s Mouth or Lips
  • Wounds that Need Stitches
  • Dog’s Wound is Bleeding Severely

How Can I Tell if My Dog’s Wound Need Stitches?

How can you tell if a dog’s cut needs stitches?

Generally speaking, a dog’s wound needs stitches if it’s deep (1/2 inch or deeper) and if the wound is greater than 1 inch in length; the large gap between the edges of the wound makes healing a slow process.

If you suspect that your dog needs stitches, you need to act quickly. Veterinarians (and “people doctors” for that matter”) try to avoid stitching wounds that are older than 12 hours due to the high risk of infection.

When it comes to the question of, “Should I take my dog to the vet?” there is one very important rule of thumb: when in doubt, take the dog to the veterinarian. If you are not confident handling a dog’s injury, it’s always best to seek the assistance of a veterinarian. Remember, if you delay treatment for a wound or infection and the situation worsens, it will be more expensive for the owner and more painful for the dog.

(Pictured: Pet Botanics E-Collar. Available at PetSmart. Price Varies Depending on Size.)

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