When your dog sustains a cut to its skin, it can bleed profusely, and give you the impression that the injury is more serious than it actually is. Fortunately, most skin lacerations aren’t life threatening and you can easily learn how to manage them.

The first thing to do is to stop the bleeding. Fold a clean cloth and press it firmly on top of the cut. The cloth may become soaked with blood; if that happens, don’t remove it or you will disturb the blood clot that is forming underneath. Just put another cloth over the first one and maintain the pressure.

It can take up to 10 minutes for the blood to clot. After this time, gently remove the cloth and have a look at your dog’s cut. If bleeding starts again, take them to your veterinarian for further treatment.

If bleeding has stopped, you can then evaluate the size, position and depth of the cut. Small shallow cuts will often heal with no treatment other than cleaning them with dilute Betadine solution. You may want to apply a clean dressing to the wound, but most dogs will quickly pull this off.

If the cut is on a very movable area of skin, it will take longer to heal because the regular movement will often re-open the wound. Under these circumstances, it is a good idea to have the wound sutured.
Long lacerations or cuts that extend deep under the skin, and cuts that don’t stop bleeding, will require prompt veterinary care. Your dog may need a general anesthetic to allow your vet to clean and suture the wound. They may also need antibiotics to prevent infection.

Whether or not your dog’s cut has been sutured, you need to watch them to make sure they don’t lick their wound excessively. This can lead to further irritation of the cut and make it worse.

In Summary – If your dog has suffered a laceration to their skin, don’t panic at the sight of the blood. Stay calm, and put pressure on the wound, and you’ll be doing your part to make sure your dog heals as quickly as possible.