Your first aid guide for the paw: cuts and bites
Your paw has just happily frolicked and played and before you know it, your paw is limping back to you. Oh, woe! What to do? Don't worry, we have the answers for you! In our multi-part series 'First Aid for Four Paws' you will find out how to behave correctly in an emergency or with minor injuries and how to help your paw! Today we are going to look at cut and bite wounds.
First aid measures: cuts and bites
The acquaintance: cuts
Whether it's a shard of glass, a game that's too animated or even an accident: almost every paw has had to wrestle with an open wound at some point. If your four-legged friend also comes back from the forest or from the dog playground with a bleeding spot, the following applies: even small wounds should be shown to a veterinarian.
But what if the wound is bleeding (profusely) and you need to act immediately? First you should stop the bleeding by applying pressure to the injured area. Ideally, you have a clean handkerchief or towel on hand to use for this purpose. Afterwards, if possible, the fur around the wound should be trimmed a little before you disinfect the wound to ensure that no bacteria penetrate the open wound and cause inflammation.
If the foreign body (shards of glass, thorns, etc.) sticks out of the wound , carefully remove it – preferably with tweezers. Then you put a pressure bandage on your paw, which consists of the following layers:
- bandage gauze
If the cut is on the paw, you can simply switch to a paw bandage so that your four-legged friend can still walk and carry its weight:
- clean wound
- Apply silver spray or other disinfectant (e.g. Betadine) to the wound
- Stick cotton between paws
- apply a bandage
In order to speed up the recovery of your paw, you can get an emergency spray for animals in the pharmacy or you can use globules with arnica . Especially in moments of shock such as cuts, these little miracle cures help to calm your four-legged friend.
So-called paw shoes , which are preferably made of rubber, are recommended during the recovery phase so that they do not let moisture through and thus protect the wound from dirt and water.
Something different: bite and tear wounds
Unfortunately, even the most sociable dogs sometimes have exceptional cases, so that they are bitten. We distinguish here between two different wounds: the bite wound and the laceration wound. But where is the difference?
A bite wound is characterized by the tooth sinking into the flesh of the four-legged friend. It often reaches into the deeper layers of the skin. In the first step, it is important that the wound is washed out well - preferably with a high-dose disinfectant such as Betadine - otherwise the risk of infection increases many times over. In any case, you should take your paw to a veterinarian for proper care of the wound and to prevent infection or inflammation.
The trained veterinarian will clip the fur around the wound clean . Why? If the fur is not shaved off professionally, there is a risk that a kind of cover will form from the remaining fur, under which bacteria can spread and multiply, which in the worst case can lead to blood poisoning . Therefore, the following applies: doctor and then off to the professional!
Lacerations are often superficial but bleed profusely and are painful and rupture unevenly . This is because the flesh is pulled, tearing the skin fibers and soft tissues. The expert veterinarian will professionally remove the wound fibers and heal the skin without tension so that your paw will quickly become the old one again. As a first step, you can heal the laceration with a pressure bandage, but you should always consult a specialist (or a specialist) to prevent inflammation.
Checklist for emergencies
Does the dog have a pulse?
The best way to determine a dog's pulse is to place your thumb and forefinger on the femoral artery. The artery feels like a strong, thin rope
Does the dog breathe?
If the chest rises and falls, the four-legged friend is still breathing. If this is not (clearly) recognizable, hold a mirror in front of your paw's mouth. If it is shod, the paw is still breathing.
Stable lateral position
Just like with us humans, paws should also be placed in the stable lateral position so that the four-legged friends do not run the risk of choking on vomit.
How is the blood flow?
You can determine the blood circulation of a four-legged friend by looking at his gums. Press against a spot on the gums for about 3 seconds. If the flesh does not return to its original color within a few seconds, or if it even turns bluish or white, the paw is in a critical condition.
Put on a sling or muzzle
Even the most peaceful comrade gets nervous or scared in an emergency and could snap. It is therefore advisable (only if the dog is active) to put a sling or a muzzle on the four-legged friend - but please only if there are no respiratory problems!
Ideally, two of you can carefully lift the animal into the car on a blanket. If you are alone and cannot find a helping hand, hold your paw so that the wound is on the opposite side. If there is a suspicion of broken bones, you let the body part hang.
So that you are prepared for emergencies:
First commandment in emergencies: keep calm! You can only help your paw with a clear head, so take a deep breath and calm your paw (and you) first.
Have you ever experienced an emergency with your paw? Have you ever had to provide first aid to a four-legged friend? Tell us your story and share your tips with us!