Care of Wounds

If your dog becomes involved in an auto accident, you should know several things in order to safe its life. First, move him carefully, if he is severely injured. Use the emergency muzzle, and if any bones appear broken, don't bend unnecessarily, but keep them as straight as possible. Move the dog on a hard, flat surface like a board rather than on a saggy blanket, and keep his head slightly above the rest of his body for better breathing. Bad cuts can be bandaged temporarily with a cloth or handkerchief to check bleeding. Tie the bandages loosely so as not to impair circulation. The head or any other part of the body can be bandaged, if necessary.

Profuse bleeding from a cut means that an artery has been severed, in which case you'll have to apply a tourniquet to stop it. The tourniquet can be a piece of rope or cloth. It must be placed between the cut and the heart and twisted tight enough to stop the bleeding. Loosen it every 15 minutes so that the circulation can resume, thus avoiding gangrene, then re-tighten it. Use a gauze-and-cotton bandage to stop a wound from bleeding. If the skin is torn badly enough to expose the underlying muscle or flesh, bleeding won't be too bad, but a veterinarian will have to stitch it closed. Let him apply the final bandage. After that, it will be up to you to keep the dog quiet and prevent him from tearing off the bandage. The dog will probably suffer from shock and should be kept warm. Get him to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

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To treat a puncture wound, nail, dog bite, or gunshot, clip away the hair and cleanse the area. Make sure the object that caused the wound is removed, along with any hair that may become embedded under the skin. Hydrogen peroxide is good for cleaning out this type of wound. Since healing must take place from inside out, it is imperative that the puncture be kept open so it can drain properly, otherwise fluids will build up in the wound and most likely cause blood poisoning. To prevent this, the scab should be removed every day and the fluid worked gently out of the wound. This is particularly important if the puncture has entered the flesh beneath the skin to any extent. Puncture wounds can amount to nothing or can become very complex if not properly cared for. A tetanus shot to prevent lockjaw is called for in some areas, and antibiotics may also be necessary.

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