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Treatment for Burns

Dog Burns First Aid

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Treatment for Burns

Wildfires can happen any time, and affects pets as well as people.

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The smoke as well as a fire can be dangerous especially for puppies and burns first aid for puppies can save your pet's life. Most cases of smoke inhalation involve situations where the pet cannot escape. Dogs and especially puppies tend to hide when scared, and may not make an effort to get out of a burning building until too late. But the wind-fanned flames of grass fires move quickly, produce a lot of smoke, and can catch outdoor pets unprepared.

Signs of Burns

Puppies with history of respiratory problems, such as flat-faced breeds like pugs or pets with asthma, may suffer health problems even with mild exposure to smoke. But smoke is composed of various gases that also make pets—-and people—-sick when inhaled, and the ash or soot irritates and clogs the lungs. Affected pets gasp, cough, and often pass out when they can’t get enough oxygen. Their gums become pale or blue.

Treatment for Dog Burns and Smoke Inhalation

With mild cases of smoke inhalation, moving the puppy or dog into clean air may be all that’s needed. If he's stopped breathing or having difficulty, rescue breathing may be necessary. All pets require veterinary attention because even if they seem to recover, smoke can kill hours to days after it’s inhaled.

With burns, the fur often hides the damage, so be sure to carefully examine your pet if you suspect he’s been in the vicinity of a fire. Remove his collar, and trim the fur short with blunt scissors around and over the area of the burn.

Walking on hot pavement or sand during the summer can also cause pad burns. You'll want to keep puppies and dogs off of hot surfaces to avoid hot feet. Puppies are even more prone to mouth burns when they chew through electrical cords. Refer to these first aid tips for electrical shock and burns.

First-degree burns cause red marks and can be treated with simple first aid. Flush the burn with cool water for 5 to 10 minutes to temporarily anesthetize and clean the injury. Burns continue to “cook” the tissue even once the heat source is gone so prompt attention stops the damage. Use a garden hose for outdoor pets or bring smaller pets into the bathtub or sink and use a spray bottle or handheld shower head. You can use aloe vera ointments or vitamin E directly on mild burns to help speed healing. These won’t cause problems if the pet licks them off. Mild burns won’t need bandages.

Burns that cover 25 percent of the pet’s body lead to shock that can kill, and applying cool water makes shock worse. Instead, apply a bag of ice to the burn (frozen peas or corn works well), wrap the pet in a towel and get him to the vet immediately. You can estimate percentage of body mass the burn involves by knowing that each limb represents about 10 percent of the pet’s total.

Second-degree burns go deeper into the skin and often raise blisters, while third-degree burns turn the tissue brown and leathery. They’re less painful for the pet because nerves have been destroyed, but are much more serious and require veterinary care.

Follow Up Care for Burns

Burns take a long time to heal, and severe injuries are prone to infection. Special bandaging and nursing care may be required. For instance, a wet-to-dry bandage involves a sterile gauze pad soaked in distilled water or saline solution pressed over the wound, and covered with a larger dry pad to hold it in place. The wet bandage seals over the burn to protect against infection, and dries in place. When removed, it takes with it any dead or contaminated tissue.

Severe burns may require four or five changes of this wet-to-dry bandage over the first several days, followed thereafter by a nonstick Telfa pad type covering. These also prevent the pet from licking the wound until it heals.

Protect your furry family members—and yourselves—from the threat of fire. But should the unthinkable happen, be prepared.

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