Pet First Aid 101: How To Clean A Dog Wound

What Can You Put on a Dog Wound?


Clean, warm water is the best option to put on a dog wound. Water has no elements that can cause irritation or damage the skin. 

Saline or Salt Solution 

Salt or saline solution is one of the most recommended home remedies by veterinarians for cleaning dog wounds. Salt is known to kill certain bacteria, making it great antisense. Salt is usually readily available in the home, and the solution is simple to make. 

To make the solution, mix one cup of boiled water and ½ teaspoon of salt, stir until the salt has dissolved, and wait for the water to cool before applying.

Make a fresh batch to avoid reinfecting the wound with bacteria that might fester in the water. 


Chlorhexidine is another popular disinfectant to contact bacteria and yeast from infecting a dog wound. Use a low concentration of chlorhexidine, preferably 2% to 4%.


Turmeric, known for its anti-inflammatory characteristics, can also be used on dog wounds. Make a paste by mixing ¼ cup of turmeric in ½ cup of water. Allow to simmer until the paste is smooth, stirring constantly. Set the paste aside to cool before application. 

Apple Cider Vinegar 

Apple cider vinegar is known to help in dog wound treatment to prevent infections, will help treat itching, and is also a great flea and ticks repellent. Making apple cider vinegar rinse is easy; mix two tablespoons of the vinegar and one quart (1.14 liters) of water. Mix thoroughly and apply to the wound.


Povidone iodine, which is different from regular iodide, contains 10% iodine and can be used on dog wounds as it does not contain alcohol. Mix ten part water to one part water, apply to the wound, and allow to dry. 

Can You Use Hydrogen Peroxide on Dogs? 

Owning a dog means from time to time, they would get injured, and it is important to know how to clean a dog wound. Hydrogen peroxide is an antiseptic used to clean wounds in humans. 

Can you use hydrogen peroxide on dogs? Yes, in diluted form, on ears, wounds, teeth, paws, skin, and mouth. The antiseptic is suitable for curing and treating flea infestations. 

There are other alternative treatments you put on a dog wound, as hydrogen peroxide is not the safest option. So let’s explore what you can put on a dog wound.

Hydrogen Peroxide

What is Considered a Wound?

A wound is when there is damage to the skin due to an injury or other causes. There are two types of wounds; open, such as lacerations, burns, and scratches or closed, such as insect bites, punctures, contusions, and bruises. 

Pet First Aid Cleaning a Dog Wound I Love Veterinary - Blog for Veterinarians, Vet Techs, Students

How to Clean a Dog Wound at Home

You do not have to take your dog to the vet with all the wounds you can treat at home, especially minor ones like scratches; therefore, knowing how to clean a dog wound from home can come in handy. Cleaning of wounds will depend on whether the wound is open or closed.

Before you start, place the dog in a comfortable position; small dogs on the table while larger ones or sit with them at eye level on the ground and put a muzzle if necessary as the dog can get aggressive due to the pain. Wear disposable gloves and start by clipping the hair around the wound so you can see properly. This is how you treat an open wound on a dog. 

  • Stop the Bleeding: Open wound on a dog will bleed, and the first thing to do is to make sure that the bleeding stops. Cover the area with a cloth or towel; if the bleeding is excessive and does not stop, visit a veterinarian immediately.
  • Clean the Area: Examine and clean the area with clean water to prevent infection until the bleeding stops so you can see clearly.
  • Remove Foreign Objects: Depending on the cause of injury, foreign objects get stuck in the wound, such as glass, thorns, and stones. Use tweezers to remove the embedded objects. 

In case of large objects stuck too deep into the skin as you may cause further injury, immediately rush your dog to a veterinarian.

  • Apply Disinfect and Ointment: Disinfect the affected area with a disinfectant such as saline salt, and apply an antibiotic ointment for dog wounds.
  • Cover the Area: Depending on the size of the laceration and also prevent the dog from licking the ointment, cover the area with a bandage making sure it is not too tight and hold it with a plaster. Check and clean the wound twice a day and apply ointments. 
Dog get wound bandaged

What to do When Your Dog Has a Bleeding Wound

Your furry friend’s bleeding can be a scary moment for any dog owner; therefore, knowing how to clean a wound on a dog comes in handy.  

The first step is to try and stop the bleeding by applying pressure with a clean towel or cloth. Help reduce blood flow to the injured area by raising the affected area above the gear level. 

Why are Some Wounds Left Open?

A wound can be left open due to several factors, depending on its location, for example, on the face. A wound will also be left open if it is contaminated and foreign objects are still under the skin. Such wounds should not be closed until treated surgically. 

How to Prevent a Wound From Closing Too Quickly

For the dog to heal well, some wounds must be left open until they start to crust. The area has to be cleaned at least twice a day and allow or remove any fluid build-up to drain out.

Clear discharge is normal, but you should visit a vet if the discharge is discolored, does not stop bleeding, or turn green or yellow, as these are signs of an infection. You have to know how to clean an infected wound on a dog to make sure the infection does not spread. 

When to Take Your Dog to the Vet

Dog wound care at home is not suitable for all injured, and these are times when you have to take your dog to a veterinarian 

  • Envenomation – This is when venomous insects or animals, such as bees or snakes, bite your dog.
  • When the cut is deep, there is excessive bleeding, and most of the inner part is exposed.
  • Injuries that look red and fluffy and may be infected.
  • When a wound is not showing signs of healing in a week. 

DIY Supplies for at-Home Wound Care

You will need certain supplies to care for a wound at home. Some of the items must be part of your first aid kit. 

  • Warm water, salt, or saline solution
  • Clean cloth, gauze, and bandages 
  • An antiseptic for dogs, such as iodine or chlorhexidine solution 
  • A dog antibiotic ointment 
  • Disposable gloves
  • Dog hair clippers 

Types of Canine Wounds

Dogs will experience various injuries resulting in different types of wounds based on their cause and appearance. It is important to be able to identify canine wounds so that you can take the necessary action. Let’s explore the different types of canine wounds.

Abrasions and Lacerations

These are minor cuts when your dog steps on glass, stones, or sharp objects. They appear as superficial wounds with irregular edges characterized by cuts, and the area will appear bruised and swollen. Attend to such wounds quickly to prevent infections. 

Puncture and Bite Wounds 

The most common wound results from a dog stepping on sharp pointed objects such as nails, thorns, and sticks; or a bite by another dog. It will result in deep puncture wounds. 

Bite wounds will usually not appear so serious, but they are deep and close too quickly, trapping bacteria and causing an abscess. The puss will pop after a few days, and you need to contact your vet immediately if you suspect your dog has a puncture wound. 

Insect Bites

Bites from insects, such as bees and fleas, may cause the dog to have a serious reaction, such as severe itching, skin inflammation, vomiting, trouble breathing, or even death. 

Mild reactions to insect bites can be hives, itching, redness, and skin swelling.

Apply flea and ticks repellent regularly to avoid them burrowing and festering on your dog. Check your dog thoroughly when grooming to remove any ticks.

Sprains and Strains

These wounds are usually closed as they affect soft tissue such as muscles, joints, and tendons. These wounds are most common in large active dogs, symptomized by redness in the area. The dog will also limp or show distress on the limb affected. Take your dog to a veterinarian immediately so they can provide the correct treatment. 

Dog wound on the elbow


A wound can affect your dog, and it is vital to know how to care for the wound at home for the speedy recovery of your dog. 

You also need to identify the different types of wounds to take the correct action.

Dog wounds are pretty common, and not all require a veterinarian visit. An infected dog wound is easy to care for canine wounds with water and antiseptic for dogs, and antibacterial ointment.

Always have a first kit filled with the necessary supplies in cases of emergency. 

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