In case you haven’t noticed, your pet takes unnecessary risks. We don’t always understand the motive behind our pets’ unusual behavior, but we do know that where there is an unnecessary risk, there is often a minor wound or injury that follows.
There are many types of small injuries that a pet can experience, and they vary depending on breed and species. Common household injuries for pets should never be ignored or taken lightly, but they are often not as devastating as we might imagine them to be. Below you will find the top 5 minor wounds pets get at home and how you can deal with them as a responsible pet owner.
A Cut or Abrasion
Of all the minor household wounds your pet could potentially experience, a small cut or abrasion is one of the most common. Whether a cut comes from an interaction with another animal such as a dog fight or dog attack, or a brush up with a sharp object, abrasions are nothing to be overly concerned with. Even if the cut is deep enough to draw blood, for the most part they are a minor injury and cuts sustained around the home don’t warrant major medical attention like stitches.
A minor puncture wound or abrasion should be treated with caution as a bacterial infection is always a possibility. Every in-home pet first aid kit should be equipped with an antimicrobial spray and antibiotic ointment to treat minor cuts and scrapes. An antimicrobial spray and antibiotic ointment prevents bacteria from growing in an open wound and also promotes wound healing and the growth of healthy skin tissue of your pet. The #1 choice recommended by Veterinarians is Vetericyn Plus(r) wound and skin care.
A minor wound and cut can be bandaged, but depending on how deep the wound is, a bandage may do more harm than good. A bandage is only necessary to keep the wound closed as a preventative measure for keeping debris from entering the wound.
As long as the wound is staying clean and free from infection, a bandage isn’t necessary for further wound care. If you do believe a bandage is necessary, make sure to clean the puncture wound and change the clean bandage daily. Once you see that the wound is closing on its own, the bandage can be permanently removed.
While it is uncommon, there is always a small possibility that a cut or bite can develop into a more serious injury. If a cut does progress to a bacterial infection, or if a cut doesn’t appear to be healing properly, call your vet to schedule an appointment for medical treatment. Other things to look out for are unusual swelling, heat radiating from the wound, discharge, or increased pain. Infection is one of the biggest risks to pets, and minor as they may be, cuts and abrasions are always at risk for infection.
The Risk Of Foreign Objects
Of all the minor wounds your pet can incur around the home, foreign objects are one of the most annoying. From stickers and thorns to bugs and man-made substances, Foreign objects pose one of the greatest threats to your pet’s comfort. There is no telling what might get stuck in your pet’s skin, fur, or paws, and foreign objects have a reputation for going unnoticed.
The paws, eyes, ears, and mouth are the four most common sites for a foreign object to become lodged. A foreign object can become lodged in your pet’s paw with ease as there are many recesses within the paw for a small object to hide. It is important to check your pet’s paws on a regular basis to avoid any long term damage or discomfort a foreign object might cause. Watch for limping or licking/biting at the paws as both of these are indications that there is likely something irritating the area of your animal.
The ears are another common area for foreign objects to set up camp. Because pets do everything head first, they often get foreign objects stuck behind the ears, as well as inside the ear itself. Bugs love to hang out in and around your pet’s ears, and the ear is a favorite of the two most dreaded pet pests, fleas, and ticks.
The face is a sensitive area for your pet. As a result, any foreign body or substance tends to create an adverse reaction. Pets are notorious for attempting to eat things they shouldn’t, and it is very common for a small piece of something to become lodged in the tongue or gums of your pet.
The minor threat of foreign objects is not simply limited to a piece of something you can easily remove. Sometimes a foreign agent is a chemical, or similar irritant, that gets into your pet’s eyes. It is vital to flush your pet’s eyes as soon as you suspect something may be wrong. An eye injury can happen rapidly, and depending on the foreign substance responsible for the issue, can have detrimental and lasting consequences on your dog or cat’s health and vision. Make sure you have a solution like Vetericyn Plus to safely flush and clean out sensitive areas like the eyes and ears.
Chipped Teeth and Broken Nails
Dental issues and broken nails are two of the most common minor pet wounds sustained within the home. Both of these issues can range in severity, but for the most part, chipped teeth and broken nails are nothing to be too stressed out by.
While the severity of a chipped tooth or a broken nail is typically minimal, these wounds tend to be painful for your pet. There are lots of nerve endings in your pet’s paws and teeth, and damage to either of these parts of the body could lead to greater health risk.
While it is not a common occurrence, extraction is a potential for both teeth and nails. If a nail or claw is bent or cracked, it becomes compromised and poses a threat as a potential infection site. Traditionally vets are cautious when removing nails, but should removal become necessary; the process is relatively routine.
A chipped tooth can happen to a pet of any age, size, species, or breed, but typically chipped teeth is an issue more prevalent in older dogs. In most circumstances, chipped teeth come as the result of chewing and biting down on a surface that is too hard. The culprits most often deemed responsible for chipped teeth are bones or chewing on things like their pens or crates!
Chipped teeth, while minor, do need to be inspected by your vet to determine if extraction is necessary. Extraction is a last resort and is usually the diagnosis if the tooth is in jeopardy of posing a greater health risk. Many vets will prescribe pain medication for the tooth to deal with the pain until the nerve in the tooth no longer causes your pet pain.
Broken nails and chipped teeth are not always easy to spot, so be sure you are administering regular pet exams at home. If you notice your pet walking strange, or licking their paws, check for broken nails. Similarly, if your pet is favoring one side of his mouth, or not eating at all, check inside the mouth for a chipped or broken tooth. Infected teeth are also fairly common. If your pet has an unusually foul odor coming from their mouth, an infected or abscessed tooth may be the cause.
While not a traditional wound, intestinal distress is a common ailment for household pets that can be caused by a number of issues. Typically intestinal distress is the result of something your pet ingested, but it can also be caused by an internal aggravation. Whatever the cause of intestinal distress, you are likely all too familiar with the result of this issue.
Whether your pet regurgitates from intestinal distress, or whether it causes bathroom issues, intestinal distress is easy to spot. For most pets, intestinal distress is caused by either a change in diet or something your pet chose to ingest of their own accord.
When dealing with intestinal distress, it is vital that you take precautions. One day of intestinal distress is no cause for alarm, but if the problem persists over multiple days, then it is time to take veterinary action.
Part of dealing with your pet’s intestinal distress is to do some light detective work. Look and see if they got into anything they shouldn’t have as foraging is one of the main culprits of this issue.
If you suspect that your pet did ingest something they are not supposed to, it is vital that you monitor their behavior. If you don’t see your pet pass the object within 24hours, other methods of extraction may be necessary. If you’re certain your pet swallowed a foreign object, call your vet immediately as an attempt to pass it could cause an internal wound.
Muscle Aches and Joint Pain
Limping is never something you want to see as a pet owner, as it tends to indicate a severe issue rather than a minor wound. In reality, your pet gets stiff and sore, just like you do. Muscle aches and joint pain are some of the most common minor wounds that pets suffer at home.
This type of issue is more prevalent in older pets as conditions like arthritis and joint pain tend to set in later in a pet’s life. Adding supplements to your pet’s diet and increasing their exercise is a great method to help your pet deal with muscle and joint pain.
While muscle aches and joint pains are not wounds themselves, they can lead to other types of wounds. Usually, a pet with joint and mobility issues will sit or lay in awkward positions in an attempt to alleviate pain. This, in turn, can create lesions and sores, which themselves are minor wounds that will need to be monitored and treated.
Minor wounds will be a part of your life with pets. Due to their natural tenacity and boundless curiosity, pets have a knack for getting themselves into trouble. While most wounds incurred in and around the home are minor, immediate treatment is an absolute necessity in preventing them from becoming major issues.
The most important thing to remember when dealing with minor household wounds in pets is to keep the affected area clean. Antimicrobial sprays are a tried and true method of keeping your pet infection-free while they recover from minor mishaps. If you are ever unsure about the severity of an injury, call your vet and schedule an appointment for your pet. You won’t ever be able to keep your pet completely out of trouble, but in knowing how to help treat their minor wounds, you can keep them safe.