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Treating Minor Wounds

Treating wounds in dogs can be a concern because often the healing process is complicated by excessive licking.† When a wound is almost healed it begins to itch and the dogís response is to lick it raw again.† Also, many dogs donít like to wear a bandage and will try to remove anything thatís applied to the wound.† Many techniques have been developed to remedy this problem and often a number of things need to be tried to determine what will work with a particular individual.† Careful monitoring of the situation, if at all possible, will allow you to teach the dog to leave the wound alone.

Another serious concern is infection, especially if the wound is an animal bite.† My Dobe has scars on her face from a raccoon bite; at the time I used a mild Dettol solution to disinfect the site and then applied small bandages.† Fortunately, my dobe will not remove bandages, even from her feet, though she was not pleased to have tiny Bandaids all over her face that night!

Black & Tan Doberman with cropped ears

Dogs will sometimes develop a cyst between the toes that needs to be soaked in Epsom salts to draw out the infection.† Fairly hot water with the salts dissolved can be made in a bucket and the infected paw submerged.† This should be done at least twice a day; three to four times would be better.† Afterwards, dry the paw and apply Friarís Balsam to the wound with a Qtip.† Friarís Balsam helps relieve the itching and promotes healing; Iíve also found it alleviates infection remarkably well.† For a minor cut, Friarís Balsam helps mend the wound and stops the bleeding; Iíd like to try it on a bleeding nail to see if it works as well as styptic powder.† Iíve found Friarís Balsam in the drugstore for a few dollars; itís very sticky and has a resinous odour.† Be careful not to spill it on porcelain because you will have to soak it to remove it once itís had a chance to harden.

Tea tree oil is probably too aggressive to be applied to a wound but may help with skin conditions.† It has a strong odour and seems to discourage licking; I suspect my dog becomes nauseated from the odour so I donít like to use it on her front paws.† An alternative is called Variton, a prescription cream obtained from your vet; Iíve used this on wounds that became itchy and were being licked; Variton has a bitter taste.† I used to apply it regularly on the scar on my dobeís tail to prevent itching and licking.† The problem resolved itself over time.

I often use boric acid powder in a solution as a mild antiseptic.† This used to be the treatment of choice for eye infections, and I have used it many times over the years, but more recently its use for eyes has been questioned.† Also called boracic acid, it is a milder antiseptic than Dettol.† Iíve found boric acid to be very effective and I like to keep it on hand in the medicine cabinet.  

Minor eye irritations can be treated with an infusion of fennel; fennel seed makes a good herbal eye wash. Make a strong tea with purified water, strain it through cheesecloth, and store in a dropper bottle. Hold the dropper at an oblique angle in the inner corner of the eye in case your dog makes a sudden movement. Make a fresh batch frequently. Any liquid you put in your dog's eye will go down her throat, so this solution has the advantage of being non-toxic as well as palatable.

If you have suggestions to share for remedies used in treating wounds, I'd love to hear about them!

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