January 17, 2018

First Aid for a dog with heat burns

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Dogs too like humans can sustain injuries from accidents. But while humans would cry because of the pain, dogs would nurse their injuries silently . The responsibility of a dog owner goes beyond getting medical care for the pet. A dog owner has to notice anything unusual in the behavior or in the appearance of the pet as oftentimes, the change is caused by a health concern.

Dogs normally stay away from open fires thus heat burns are not common injuries of dogs. However, dogs are very active and inquisitive animals. A dog that is reaching for a leftover on the counter top can be scalded by a steaming cup of coffee. Dogs that resist being groomed can be burned by the hair dryer. The dog’s tough leathery paw pads are no match to hot pavement or hot coals.

A dog owner has to be discerning as the dog’s burn injuries may not be too apparent because the skin is covered with fur. Superficial burns are characterized by reddening and swellings of the skin. Reddening and swelling of the skin as well as the formation of blisters are the symptoms of partial thickness burns or second degree burn. The two classifications of heat burns would have the dog in pain. Full thickness burn is similar to third degree burns in humans where the dog’s skin will peel off and there will be swelling under the skin. Deep burns cause the destruction of the nerves thus the dog would not really feel pain. Deep burns will result to white or black (charred) skin and hairs that can be easily pulled because the hair follicles were destroyed.

A dog that has sustained deep burns would need to be hospitalized while dogs with superficial burns can be treated with first aid. Hospitalization is necessary for a dog that has sustained deep burns especially if more than 15 % of the skin was affected. Nevertheless, first aid treatment would still be necessary to stabilize the condition before the pet is transported to the hospital.

The dog’s burn has to be cooled immediately to stop the heat from causing further damage to the tissues. To arrest the damage cause by the heat to the tissues, burned body part has to be immersed in cool water. Another first aid alternative is to use a wash cloth soaked in cool water on the burned area. Pat dry the burned skin but take care not to rub the burned area. Contrary to what was commonly believed, butter, grease or ointments would not heal the burned skin, more damage to the tissues will be created as the heat will be trapped in the affected tissues.

More information on heat burns and first aid for dogs can be found at Sarah’s Dogs.

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