Cuts, Scrapes and Gashes
Dog injuries are a standard part of dog ownership - they come with the territory. There are cut paws, gashed legs, a cat-scratched nose (!); there are post-operative wounds, like from neutering; you can have deep puncture wounds - from a thorn, or a dog-bite - and of course the more general skin trauma associated with a road traffic accident.
All of these respond well to the basic rules of tending dog injuries. As Vet David Urch says in his excellent book Aloe Vera - Nature's Gift: Aloe Vera in Veterinary Practice, the first thing you need to do is clean the wound and prevent further contamination, remove any foreign bodies and dead tissue, then allow the wound to close from the bottom up.
For the fine detail on how to deal with First Aid wound management for dog injuries check out his book. But if you use a large dollop of commonsense (bearing in mind that the dog's skin is like a loose-fitting overcoat, and can harbour infection unless you are scrupulous at cleaning dog injuries), and use natural remedies with an excellent pedigree and great write-ups, then you can't go too far wrong.
Of course, I'm only talking about minor dog injuries - such as cuts and abrasions - for home treatment, much as you would put a plaster on a child's finger. Any more serious dog injuries should be dealt with by your vet in the first place. A good vet is worth rubies - you find one, you look after him!
I've used Aloe Vera for dog injuries over the last few years, and am always amazed at its speedy healing. The dog appreciates its painkilling and anti-inflammatory qualities, and I'm glad I'm not putting something on my dog which could have side-effects. Even if the animal licks it off, it's not going to do him any harm, though it's a good idea to distract him - with food or a game - for a few minutes after application, to give the Aloe Vera a chance to penetrate.
Look at what Paul Kelly says. He's another vet who's been using Aloe Vera for dog injuries for years: "I have used Aloe Vera Gelly for wounds and found it to be excellent in promoting healing, especially where there is infected or necrotic tissue." Paul Kelly, M.V.B, Veterinary Consultant to APDTI, Ireland
By the way "necrotic tissue" means "dead tissue" to us non-vets.
Only the Best...
But you do need to get the right Aloe Vera to get the right results with dog injuries. I've sourced the best for you, so you don't need to conduct your own trials with your own guinea-pig dog. And I'm sure you'll be delighted to know that not only are they the best products, but they also work out much cheaper to use than many other types of wound treatment!
In fact there was a study not long ago by the PDSA - a UK animal shelter organisation - where economy has to be a watchword - and the vets there used Aloe Vera Gelly for dog injuries instead of their usual wound creams. They found that the Gelly "significantly" accelerated the healing, reduced the incidence of proud flesh, cut down on bacteria and resulted in minimal scarring and excellent hair re-growth with very few white hairs, and it also worked out 56% cheaper than their usual wound gel!
Of course I didn't even consider the cost saving when my collie Jake gashed his leg going over a metal gate at speed. I sprayed the inch-long deep gash with Aloe First to clean it, and applied Aloe Propolis Creme two to three times a day. He cut himself on Sunday, and by Wednesday morning the cut had closed completely and he was using his leg again. I carried on with the Propolis Creme for a few more days, whenever Jake would stand still long enough! I can't find any sign of the gash now - no white hairs, no lumpiness.
You can use Aloe Vera too for dog injuries involving bones and tendons - go to Joint Problems for information on treating these naturally.
Prevention is Better than Cure...
There are some dog injuries that are hard to prevent without wrapping your dog in cotton wool and never letting him out of his bed. But others are preventable. Here are a few "don'ts".
- Don't use a check chain, more commonly and appropriately known as a choke chain. Never leave a slip collar on a dog. More info on this on our Dog Collars page.
- Don't throw sticks unless you are a very good shot and you can be sure they'll have landed flat before your dog reaches them. Dogs have been impaled on sticks by plunging on them as they land. There are loads of safe dog toys you can use that are easy to stow in a pocket, and some that float - for water games.
- Lift puppies and young dogs out of the car. Don't let them jump out till they are nearer a year - older if you have a tall van or jeep or a heavily-built dog.
- If you have to tie a dog up, tie him on a short lead. This minimises the possibility of his legs getting tangled up. And never leave a puppy tied!
- Do you know where your dog is right now? Road accidents can inflict terrible (and very expensive) dog injuries, and many accidents are caused by dogs wandering loose. Unless your garden is totally secure (no gaps in hedges, gate always kept tied shut) then you should pen your dog when you're not around, or leave him in the house. The anti-dog lobby is alive and well and always looking for sticks to beat dog-owners with - don't give them any sticks!