Dog Wound Not Healing

Dog Wound Not Healing: Dog Wound Care, Stages and Treatments

A dog wound not healing is a surface or deep-level affliction that does not heal naturally. Dog wounds fail to heal due to inadequate blood or oxygen supply, temperature changes, mechanical forces on the wounds, obesity, and secondary infection, which hinder cellular regeneration. 

Open wounds are prone to infection and require extra care. An open wound on dog won’t heal if there is a lack of thorough cleaning and proactive management. 

Infected dog wound healing stages include inflammation, debridement, repair, and maturation. 

The treatment for when a dog wound won’t heal includes prophylactic antibiotics, topical antiseptics, anti-inflammatory medicine, and proactive management of the affected site. 

Why is My Dog's Wound Not Healing?

Your dog’s wound is not healing because there are hindrances to cellular repair. Bodily factors influence the ability of tissues to heal.

Blood and oxygen are vital in adequate cellular repair as they are required for protein synthesis, fibroblastic activity, and migration of blood cells. Conditions that cause anemia, hypovolemia, and hypotension greatly affect the rate of wound healing. 

Higher temperatures positively influence the tensile strength of wounds, and colder temperatures result in a loss of tensile strength. Secondary infection is common in poorly managed wounds and results in delayed healing. 

One way to determine if wound healing is inadequate is when there are signs such as a foul smell, oozing pus, dark or black discoloration, and progressive pain and swelling. 

What to do if my Dog has a Wound that won't Heal?

If your dog has a wound that won’t heal, follow the steps listed below.

  1. Consult a veterinarian. The veterinarian performs necessary laboratory tests to determine the reason for slow wound healing. Diseases that cause anemia, poor oxygen perfusion, lack of cellular proliferation, and secondary infection are addressed first to allow the wound to heal properly. 
  2. Clean the wound regularly. Slow-healing wounds require frequent cleaning and antiseptic treatment, as delayed healing increases the chances of infection. Povidone-iodine solutions are one of the most common and easily available antiseptics for wound cleaning.
  3. Isolate the dog. Isolation decreases the likelihood of contact with outdoor debris, bacteria, and mechanical stretching of the tissue. Open wounds are appealing to opportunistic insects such as flies that lay eggs in the wound. The fly eggs cause myiasis, which delays wound healing and destroys tissue. Reduced movement decreases the stretching of the affected tissue and aids healing. 
  4. Boost recovery with supplements. Supplements that contain vitamin C and zinc help in the hydroxylation of amino acids and aid in epithelial and fibroblastic proliferation. Consult a veterinarian for the correct dosage for the dog to avoid excess zinc supplementation, which causes a contradictory effect and delays wound healing.
  5. Avoid steroid creams. Steroid creams are associated with delayed wound healing in dogs. Corticosteroids have an inhibitory effect on capillary budding, fibroblast proliferation, and rate of epithelialization. Only use steroid creams under the advice of a veterinarian. 

What Are the Signs of an Infected Dog Wound?

The signs of an infected dog wound are listed below.

  • Foul smell: A foul-smelling odor is a hallmark of poor wound care. The harmful bacteria that have proliferated produce malodorous chemicals and induce tissue decay. The wound develops a pungent smell of rotting flesh.
  • Severe swelling: Inflammation is normal during wound healing, depending on the extent of damage. Swelling that progressively increases in severity is an indicator of infection.
  • Dark discoloration: The wound's black or dark blue/purple coloration is a sign of tissue hypoxia and necrosis. Necrosis is a result of a lack of tissue perfusion and oxygenation due to inadequate blood supply. Infections hasten tissue decay and lead to necrosis. 
  • Oozing pus: The most common sign of infection is the presence of pus. Suppuration is an expected pathological result in infections. A straw-colored or blood-tinged and malodorous fluid leaks from the wound, indicating infection.
  • Progressive pain: Wounds are intended to lessen in severity over time. Infected wounds are slow to heal because of secondary tissue damage. Bacteria cause a progressive decline in healing and make the wounds more painful. 

Can Ear Infections cause Wounds not to Heal?

Yes, ear infections can cause wounds not to heal. Open wounds are easily infected by bacteria from otitis infections. The ear canal's warm, moist, and narrow anatomy is an ideal site for bacterial proliferation. 

Wound healing delays are due to the infection predisposing the wound to necrosis. An ear infection requires treatment first to allow wounds to heal fully. 

Can Nose Parasitic Infection Cause Wounds Not to Heal?

Yes, nose parasitic infection causes wounds not to heal. Parasites are able to infiltrate pre-existing wounds and create new wounds. Parasitic activity, movement, and migration contribute to inflammation and tissue damage. 

The parasites can create a constant inflammatory response and disrupt normal bodily tissue repair, leading to chronic, non-healing wounds. The wound fails to heal completely until the nose infection has been treated. 

Can Skin Infections Lead to Unhealed Wounds?

Yes, skin infections can lead to unhealed wounds. Bacterial infiltration into wounds delays healing and leads to further damage. The bacteria proliferate and produce enzymes that speed up tissue degradation. Tissue degradation leads to chronic, non-healing sores.

Skin infection results in tissue necrosis because of loss of adequate blood and oxygen supply and inflammatory cells, which are major factors in the healing process of wounds.

What are the Dog Wound Healing Stages?

The dog wound healing stages are listed below.

  • Inflammation: Inflammation removes injurious stimuli and facilitates the migration of cellular defense mechanisms. Hallmarks of inflammation include redness, heat, swelling, and pain. High temperature due to active hyperemia improves wound tensile strength and allows better blood and oxygen supply to the wounded tissue. 
  • Debridement: Debridement removes dead cells, tissue, and bacteria. Debridement is important in keeping the wound clean and allowing new fibroblastic tissue to form over it. The body performs autolytic functions that separate the dead tissue from the healthy. 
  • Repair: The repair phase involves rebuilding the damaged tissues. Granulation tissue starts to fill the base of the wound and form vascular connections. Contraction pulls the wound's edges towards the center and closes the exposed area. Re-epithelialization occurs to cover the area with a layer of new and healthy skin.
  • Maturation: The maturation phase occurs when the new skin starts rearranging the collagen fibers to level with the old skin and increase tensile strength. Healed wounds are unable to return to the same strength and are less resilient than the original skin. 

How to Care for a Dog Wound at Home?

To care for a dog wound at home, follow the 5 steps listed below.

  1. Wash thoroughly with soap. Wash the wound with clean running water. Run the water through the wound and lather antiseptic soap for at least a minute. Be gentle when washing and provide reassurance throughout to avoid any undue trauma. Dry the area with a clean cloth or gauze and apply medication and dressing when indicated.
  2. Use antiseptic solutions daily. Household antiseptic solutions such as povidone-iodine are safe to use for dog wounds. Soak a cotton ball with iodine solution and dab it gently on the wound. Apply the solution twice daily to keep the wound clean and prevent bacterial infection. 
  3. Clip the hair. Hair clipping helps to keep the wound clean and allows for faster healing. Hair clippers are available for owners to use at home to trim 2-3 inches away from the edges of the wound. Seek professional help with clipping when the dog is in pain, as the lack of proper technique leads to accidental cuts or scrapes. 
  4. Apply topical medicine. Household topical antibacterial medicines such as mupirocin or silver sulfadiazine are able to be used on dog wounds. Apply a pea-sized amount to dog wounds to prevent bacteria and infection. The ointment is best applied twice a day after applying an antiseptic solution. 
  5. Isolate the dog for several days. Isolation decreases the likelihood of contact with outdoor debris, bacteria, and mechanical stretching of the tissue. Reduced movement decreases strain on the affected tissue and helps with faster healing. Keep the dog in a small, clean indoor space for the duration of wound healing. 

How to Treat a Dog's Wound That Won't Heal?

To heal a dog’s wound that won’t heal, ensure proper wound cleaning and care. Proper wound care at home includes regular antiseptic treatment, environmental disinfection, and good compliance with the prescribed treatment plan. 

Use household antiseptic solutions, such as iodine solution, as a daily protective layer on the dog's wound. Ensure that the dog’s bedding, clothes, and pen are disinfected thoroughly. Consult a veterinarian about other systemic diseases that interfere with wound healing.

What is the Healing Process for Dog Wounds?

The healing process for dog wounds involves inflammation, debridement, repair, and maturation. Every wound starts with the formation of a hemostatic plug comprised of platelets circulating and migrating to the affected site to control bleeding. 

Inflammation allows for temperature increase, blood flow increase, and oxygen perfusion increase once the bleeding has stopped. The process lets plasma fibrinogen undergo a cascade of processes that form fibrin, the final product of the coagulation cascade. 

Fibroblasts are specialized cells that secrete the collagen that is required for forming connective tissue. Re-epithelialization and maturation are the final steps that ensure that the newly reconstructed tissue has adequate tensile strength. 

Can Dogs Heal Their Own Wounds?

Yes, dogs can heal their own wounds through second-intention healing. Second-intention healing occurs when the wound heals independently by building up layers of tissue over time. Canine bodies naturally produce cells that repair tissue and fight infection. 

Healthy dogs heal their own wounds with time but are prone to secondary infections because of poor wound asepsis, mechanical stretching, and poor environmental control. Veterinary care is essential to prevent complications and ensure proper healing for serious or infected wounds.

How to Heal a Dog's Wound Quickly?

The way to heal a dog’s wound quickly is to ensure that the wound remains clean. Apply daily antiseptic treatment to the wound and keep the area free from hair. Avoid covering the wound all day to allow naturally-formed pus to escape the wound. 

Using topical antibacterial reduces the likelihood of infection. Consult a veterinarian on how to properly manage wounds and discuss supplemental wound-healing methods such as laser therapy. 

How Long Does It Take for a Dog's Wound to Heal?

It takes several days for a dog’s wound to heal. A small to medium-sized wound that has been well taken care of generally heals in 7-10 days. The duration of complete wound healing depends on the severity and extent of the wound. 

The location of the wound influences healing, as some parts of the body have poor vascularization. Large, open, soft-tissue wounds heal within several weeks to a month. 

What Natural Antiseptics Can Be Used for Dog Wounds?

The natural antiseptics that can be used for dog wounds are listed below.

  • Calendula Oil: Calendula officinalis is a species of herbaceous plant from the daisy compounds that have “antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, wound healing, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, antiedematous and immunomodulating factors'' according to Zitterl et al., in the study “Anti-oedematous activities of the main triterpendiol esters of marigold (Calendula officinalis L.),” 1997. 
  • Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is rich in medium-chain fatty acids such as lauric acid. A study conducted on the antimicrobial effects of medium-chain fatty acids showed that “lauric acid had the most inhibitory saturated fatty acid against gram-positive organisms,” according to Kabara et al., published in “Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy,” 1972.
  • Honey: Honey is one of the most well-known natural antiseptics for wounds. Honey is rich in “sugar content, polyphenol compounds, hydrogen peroxide, 1,2-dicarbonyl compounds; and bee defensin-1,” according to Saad Almasaudi in the Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences, 2021.
  • Apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar (ACV) contains approximately 5% acetic acid, strands of proteins, enzymes, and good bacteria. Research shows that “ACV can have multiple antimicrobial effects directly on E-coli, S. aureus and C. albicans,” according to Yagnik et al., in a study entitled "Antimicrobial activity of apple cider vinegar against Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Candida albicans; downregulating cytokine and microbial protein expression,” 2018. 
  • Garlic: Garlic contains high amounts of an antibacterial agent called allicin. Crushed garlic mixed with an aqueous vehicle is historically proven to prevent wound infection. A study on five dogs showed improved re-epithelialization and collagen fiber arrangement on garlic-treated wounds. The research concluded that “topical application of aqueous garlic extract, as used in this study, could improve rate of wound healing in the dog,” according to Siamak et al., in the study “Enhancing Effect of Aqueous Garlic Extract on Wound Healing in the Dog: Clinical and Histopathological Studies,” 2006.

How to Prevent a Dog's Wound from Getting Infected?

The way to prevent a dog’s wound from getting infected is through daily antiseptic treatment with ointments and antimicrobials. Clean the wound immediately and gently rinse with clean water or a saline solution to remove dirt and debris. Apply a sterile bandage to cover the wound and protect it from further contamination.

Avoid letting the dog out while the wound is healing, and decrease physical activity. Consult and follow the advice of the veterinarian on any medications and further instructions on how to keep the wound clean. 

What Does a Healing Dog Wound Look Like?

A healing dog wound resembles shades of pink or red. A scab forms as blood clotting stops the bleeding, known as the hemostasis phase. The wound appears red and swollen during the inflammatory phase as immune cells prevent infection. 

The pink or red granulation tissue fills the wound during the proliferative phase, the wound edges contract in the maturation phase, and new epithelial cells cover the wound, forming scar tissue.

Can I Put Peroxide on My Dog's Wound?

No, you cannot put peroxide on your dog’s wound. Hydrogen peroxide is a potent antimicrobial that targets harmful and beneficial bacteria. Wounds require the body’s natural bacteria to heal and return to normal. 

Hydrogen peroxide eliminates the skin's natural bacterial flora, prolonging healing time. Always consult the veterinarian before treating a dog's wound with peroxide or other substances.

Do Wound from Flea Bites Heal Slow?

Yes, wounds from flea bites heal slowly. Fleas have special salivary chemicals that cause allergic reactions in some dogs. The condition is called flea allergy dermatitis (FAD), a dermatological condition that leads to itching and symmetrical alopecia. 

Dogs with a flea allergy experience slower healing due to underlying persistent inflammation, increasing the risk of secondary bacterial infections. Secondary infections further delay the healing process.