Dogs can suffer from a wide range of burns. You may not realize all the ways your dog could get burned or how serious the wounds can be. Read this post to learn about preventing, recognizing, and treating dog burns.
Ways Dog Burns Occur
Dogs can get burned in many ways, and some of them could catch you by surprise.
Helping with cooking
Being your beauty cheerleaderDogs may get burned when trying to keep you company in the kitchen or by going in the kitchen by themselves while cooking is going on. Boiling water and hot oil could pop, splash, or spill on your dog, whether because you spill it, they knock it over, or they're just near the stove. Steam can also scald your dog.
Curling irons and hair straighteners can get knocked over or fall on your dog. Sometimes we leave these tools on the floor and the dog could walk or lay on them.
Whether they chew on an electrical cord, get into an electrical outlet, or stumble on a faulty appliance, electricity can burn or electrocute your dog.
Your dog may get in the cleaning closet or the garage and suffer chemical burns. Just the fumes of some chemicals can burn. They might also find a leaking battery or dismantle a battery and be burned by the acid.
Friction from ropes, carpet, etc. can cause burns. The dog may get too carried away, be roughhoused by another dog, or get stuck and suffer a burn.
Your dog could get burned by a small or large fire in your home or yard, whether it's your fire pit in the backyard, the fireplace, or something that has caught on fire.
Contacting hot objects
Freak accidents like running under your car and touching the catalytic converter or muffler while they are still hot or walking or laying on tools left in the sun could cause burns.
Staying in the sun
Long walks in the bright sun, playing too long in a backyard with no shade, and falling asleep in the sun could give your dog a sunburn.
Delayed appearance of dog burns and damage
You should be aware that internal damage from inhaled steam, chemicals, and smoke may not present symptoms for as long as 24 hours after exposure.
The full extent of the dog burn may take as much as 14 days to appear. So, do not be terribly surprised if a burn you thought wasn't bad becomes that way. Be prepared to take the dog to the vet should this happen.
Dog Burn Symptoms
The signs of dog burns can also be surprising.
Sometimes, depending on the type and location of the burn, the first sign you may notice is singed fur. You will likely smell burning fur at the same time.
Other symptoms of dog burns and scalds may include:
- soreness or avoidance of the area
- a change in fur color or texture
- scratching or grooming the area
- whimpering or crying
- a red, shiny spot
- a red, blotchy area
- oozing skin
- ulcers on the skin or in the mouth
- cracked or unusually dry skin
- blackened skin
- fever, particularly with sunburns
The severity of dog burns is rated in first, second, and third degrees like human burns. This rating determines the appropriate treatment.
Care for dog burn consists of rinsing the burn with cool water to clean the area and soothe it, unless it is a chemical burn. You will want to apply a cool compress and wrap the wound in a bandage to keep the dog from licking or scratching the area.
A first-degree burn has damaged only the outermost layer of skin, the epidermis. It will also usually be smaller in size. This will likely cause only mild external symptoms like discoloration and irritation. Unless you struggle to assess the damage or think the dog may have been burned by electricity, they can probably be treated at home. It should heal in a few days.
If the dog appears ill, the wound doesn't heal, or it looks like the wound is getting infected, you should take the dog to the vet as soon as possible.
Second-degree burns have penetrated the second layer of skin, increasing the chances of infection and potentially causing shock. You will typically see red, shiny skin underneath or a blister.
Larger burns, covering more area, may rank in the second-degree status either because of their size alone or because it is virtually impossible for that much area to be burned without some part of it affecting the second layer.
Dogs with second-degree burns will probably need to visit the vet, even if it's after-hours. If you, knowing how it was done, what the wound looks like and how the dog is acting, think it may not be that serious, you could call your vet first to make sure.
The vet will cut away infected or dead skin, apply a saline solution to clean the wound, and prescribe antibiotics and pain medication.
With proper care, they should be healed in a couple of weeks.
These burns have penetrated into even deeper layers of skin and are extremely serious. The dog should definitely get to a vet immediately, as they may lose blood and fluids and the risk of infection and shock are tremendous. They may have lost sensation in the area, and there may be a layer of dead skin. These burns will require skin grafts and potential surgery to repair underlying tissues and nerves.
The vet may have to give your dog intravenous fluids and electrolytes to preserve their organ function. It is also common to keep them overnight to ensure they don't go into shock and to keep them sedated to prevent them from experiencing the terrible pain or moving and impairing healing.
The dog will have permanent scarring.
Chemical and electrical burns are trickier
Chemical burns on dogs require extra thought. Some chemicals can be rinsed off with water, acidic ones require baking soda and water, and alkali chemicals require vinegar. If you don't know whether the chemical is acidic or alkali, try water and see if the dog acts like the water is making it significantly worse. Have someone call an applicable pet poison helpline or your vet, and protect your hands and skin as best you can from burns from the chemical while removing it from the dog. You might use gloves, if you have them.
The dog will definitely need to go to the vet because chemical burns are likely to be severe, as they adhere to the skin so long, and the dog could have ingested or inhaled the chemical and caused other problems.
Electrical burns on dogs require first that you turn off the electricity and/or keep them away from the source. If the dog is still in contact with the electric source, a puddle of liquid, or something else like a root from a struck tree, use something non-conductive like a wooden spoon or branch to move the dog away from the source. After this, check their breathing and pulse to see if you need to perform CPR. Call the vet or emergency vet immediately if the dog is convulsing, rigid, or unconscious, or you suspect they may have suffered more damage than a burn. Rinse the burn with water, apply a cold compress, and cover the burn with a bandage to reduce pain and prevent infection.
Dog Burns Treatment
The steps above are first aid tips. When asking, "how to treat a burn on a dog," prepare to be dealing with this for a matter of days, weeks, or even months, depending on the severity of the burn.
There also aren't easy answers because each burn is different. Your vet will give you personalized advice based on the burn and your dog.
Keep a bandage on the burn, even if this means putting a shirt or onesie on your dog to ensure they can't get it off. You will need to change the bandage regularly, and you can tell how often by whether the bandage gets dirty or wet, even if wetness is caused by sweat. Use breathable bandages, a breathable shirt, if needed, and keep both loose to lessen the chances of sweat.
Try to keep them as comfortable as possible. The ways to do this will depend on the location of the burn and your dog's living environment.
Ensure that they are eating, drinking, and using the bathroom regularly. Discomfort, stress, or secondary conditions could interfere with their ability to care for themselves properly.
The vet may recommend an antibiotic ointment for the burn and/or oral antibiotics. First-degree burns probably won't require this unless they suffer further damage during healing.
Your vet should give you any other special care instructions for the worst burns.
If your dog starts getting worse instead of better or develops new symptoms, call the vet or take them to the vet.
How long do dog burns take to heal?
That depends. The average time for dog burns to heal is 2 to 4 weeks, but minor burns may take as little as a few days to heal and the most serious ones could take longer than the average because of surgeries and complications. Your vet can give you a better estimate for your dog's unique situation.
A less important but still very common and valid question is, "will dog hair grow back after a burn?"
That depends on the severity of the burn. Most burns that aren't severe will eventually heal enough to grow hair again, but the worst dog burns will stay bald.
Preventing is better than treating dog burns
As you may have noticed, dog burns are awful, as are all burns. It is very disturbing to witness, can be very dangerous, and takes a lot of time and careful tending to heal.
Make it much harder for your dog to get burned by:
- keeping your dog out of the kitchen when you're cooking or having someone else present to watch them.
- storing chemicals in cabinets with child locks or ones too high for your dog to reach.
- heating hair straighteners and curling irons too high for the dog to reach, even if they are in a room you think the dog can't get in.
- keeping batteries in places too high for your dog to reach.
- not as likely to be a problem but worth considering - keeping anything with batteries away from dogs in case the batteries get exposed.
- dog-proofing electrical cords by getting them out of reach, covering them, and ensuring there are no already exposed wires.
- not using damaged appliances, heaters, lamps, etc.
- monitoring your dog around space heaters and radiators.
- keeping your dog inside while grilling out.
- when drying your dog with a hair dryer, using the cool setting.
- keeping a strong guard around your fireplace.
- walking your dog on the grass in hot weather, even if this means you have to take them to special places(if the pavement is too hot for you to hold your hand on it for 5 seconds, then it is too hot for your dog to walk on it).
- not smoking around your dog.
- placing candles high enough that the dog can't reach them.
- being mindful of conductive objects that might burn your dog in the hot sun or even an un-air-conditioned room, like tools.
- not letting your dog stay in the bright sun too long, on walks, or in the yard.
- applying pet-friendly sunblock to more easily sunburned areas like the nose and tummy(remember, dogs with shorter and lighter-colored coats get sunburned more quickly).
You can't prevent all burns. Accidents just happen sometimes because you can't foresee everything and be everywhere. But you can make them much less likely by taking the steps listed here.
Should your dog get burned, try not to panic and don't blame yourself. Just focus on being good to your dog and getting them or providing them with the care they need.
How CBD Oil can Help with Dog Burns
CBD oil is growing in popularity as a natural alternative to traditional treatments for a staggering number of ailments.
CBD oil can offer several benefits when dealing with dog burns:
- pain relief
- a cooling sensation
- antibacterial properties
- improving mood
- alleviating stress
- improving appetite
- speeding wound healing
This means CBD oil balms can be applied to the burn in an effort to provide the cooling sensation that feels so good, relieve pain, and both prevent and treat infections.
Should your dog be suffering stress or depression from their ordeal, or lose their appetite, CBD oil treats, tinctures, capsules, or extract concentrates might help them to feel more themselves.
The benefits of CBD oil are appealing, being able to take one substance and impact several problems at once. It is also a great relief to hear that CBD oil has virtually no side effects or risks after you've read the side effects list of most medications or have already tried these medications and discovered that your dog can't take them.
What is CBD oil and how does it work?
The star ingredient in CBD oil is cannabidiol, derived from the hemp plant. Hemp contains a great deal of cannabidiol and hardly any THC, unlike marijuana which contains very little cannabidiol and a lot of THC. You've probably heard of medical marijuana, and cannabidiol is largely responsible for its benefits. Cannabidiol from hemp provides similar benefits, as well as more, longer-lasting and more reliable results than marijuana can. And it can't possibly cause any "high" like marijuana, making it safe for dogs.
Scientists have found an endocannabinoid system in dogs as well as humans and many other animals. It is made up of cannabinoid receptors attached to many vital organs, creating cannabinoids and utilizing them to maintain the body's homeostasis. External cannabinoids like cannabidiol work in the body much like the ones in the dog's own body, making up for deficiencies or giving it a boost when in trouble.
Side effects and risks
These are minimal. Most dogs don't have side effects from CBD oil, but it is possible for them to experience diarrhea, loss of appetite, or sedation, particularly when taking very large amounts.
You should tell the vet that you are giving the dog CBD oil so they can dose any medications and treatments correctly. CBD oil does impact doses for medications processed through the liver. There are also mixed results regarding whether CBD oil repairs liver tissue or causes a negative effect similar to acetaminophen or alcohol in humans. You could discuss the risks versus benefits with your vet.
There is no known instance of an overdose of CBD oil in dogs or any other living thing.
CBD oil has not been FDA approved yet, as it simply hasn't gone through enough testing and trials. This means results are not guaranteed, though users are reporting miraculous results and scientists are excited by their findings. CBD oil shouldn't be used as a replacement for a drug for a life-threatening ailment unless that drug cannot be taken and you are prepared with an aggressive backup plan should CBD oil not work for your dog. It is also possible to use CBD oil along with medications to reduce their side effects so the medications can continue to be taken.
Innovations from Innovet
Should your dog be suffering an ailment from their dog burns that no other traditional or natural method can fix, contact us to see if we can't create a solution for them? We love to innovate for pets.
We make the following scientifically-backed CBD oil products for pets: CBD oil tinctures, capsules, crunchy treats, soft treats, and balms. They are reasonably priced and you can use our third-party tests to prove you're getting the full amount of CBD oil you believe you are getting and no surprise THC. While you're shopping with us, you might also want to pick up our eco-friendly poop bags, anti-pest products, and dental and ear cleaning supplies.
Sources:Burns in Dogs
Burns and Scalds in Dogs
Burns in Small Animals