Dog First Aid – Heat burns

Dogs too like humans can sustain injuries from accidents. Humans would instantly complain about their aches and pains but dogs do not have the ability to voice out what they feel . Getting the pet to a vet is not the only responsibility of a dog owner. 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 can get heat burns although this kind of injury is not really common in dogs given the fact that these animals usually stay away from fires. Dogs though often get into tight spots because of their energetic and inquisitive nature. A dog trying to get the cooling steak beside the grill can get burned by the smoldering coals. A dog 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.

Because of the fur, the dog’s injuries as well as the extent of the damage may not be easily apparent to a dog owner. Skin that was superficially burned will redden and swell. Partial thickness burn is similar to second degree burn where the dog’s skin will redden, swell and have blisters. The two types of burns will cause the dog immense 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. Dogs with deep burns will not be in pain because the nerves were destroyed. Deeply burned skin will turn either white or black and because of destroyed hair follicles, the hair can be easily pulled out.

Superficial and second degree burns can be treated at home but deep burns are serious cases that would need professional medical attention. 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. The burned skin can be covered with a wash cloth soaked in cool water. Pat dry the affected skin. Butter, grease or any ointment must not be applied on the burned skin as it will trap the heat and cause further damage.

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