You always hope it won't happen to your pet, but dogs can be the targets of attacks from other animals, including other dogs, raccoons, and coyotes. Injuries from animal fights can be severe, so you need to know how to respond if your dog has battle wounds. This guide can help you know what to do.
Dogs that are injured will be in pain. Pain can make your normally loving pet much more aggressive. Approach cautiously, and don't handle your dog without wearing protective gloves. Use a gentle voice. Do not touch injured areas if you can help it, and always stay in your dog's line of sight.
Move your dog as little as possible.
Even if your dog seems to just have superficial injuries, bites and blows from other dogs can cause internal injuries. Once you see that your dog is injured, encourage it to stay calm as you drive to the animal hospital. You might enlist someone to hold your dog still as you drive, or you might put your dog into its kennel to keep it from moving around too much.
Cover open wounds.
Don't try to treat open wounds yourself. Wounds may look like small scratches, but puncture wounds from teeth can go much deeper and have much more damage than you might see on the surface. Trying to care for wounds at home can make things worse. If the wounds have dirt or debris, simply wash them gently with water. Cover open wounds loosely with clean gauze or towels to protect them from getting dirty and bring your dog to the vet as soon as you possibly can.
Don't delay medical treatment.
Take your dog to the vet immediately. Wounds from animal fights can get infected easily, and your dog may need a rabies booster if they aren't up to date. If you do not get medical treatment right away, you put your dog at risk for developing blood poisoning or sepsis because of infection. If this happens, your dog's condition is much harder and more costly to treat, and their risk of dying increases drastically.
Even if it seems like your dog only has a bite or two, you should still see a vet as soon as you can. The severity of the injuries from animal fights often cannot be diagnosed by the owner. Muscle tears and injuries to bones and ligaments require hospital scans and even surgery. You won't know how much medical care your dog will need until the vet exam. For more information, talk to an animal hospital like Center-Sinai Animal Hospital.