Incisions – Simple cuts & nicks

Dealing with the results of minor and major accidents is part and parcel of owning a dog. Dogs are active, inquisitive and most would get their share of nicks and cuts. There are occasions when the pet has to be rush to the vet but there are also instances when first aid knowledge would ease the pain being suffered by the dog, prevent the situation from worsening and at times save the life of the beloved pet. Small cuts do not really need a vet’s attention as treatment can be done by the owner at home. Nicks and small cuts is an ordinary occurrence especially if the dog is taken hunting or on a hiking trip. A first aid kit will be most necessary to administer treatment


Small cuts are often seen on the dog’s ears and foot pads. In most cases, the fur serves as protection. We do wear foot gears but most dogs don’t (some owners have taken to purchasing and allowing their pets to wear booties). Foot pads are often nicked by sharp objects, thorns and broken glass. Stepping on sharp rocks and running on rough terrain can cause the cuts on the dog’s feet. Cuts on the ears and on the face are sometimes caused by metals and wires and by dog fights. Trimming the dog’s nails and hair may also cause nicks and cuts.

Small cuts on the dog’s body will be hard to find unless the cut is bleeding profusely and the fur is matted with blood. A quick that is accidentally cut would bleed profusely. A dog with a cut foot pad will be noticeable as in most cases the dog would favor the injured limb.


Obviously the best precautionary measure for this situation is good house keeping. Dog proof the house and the yard as if you are ensuring the safety of a small child. A trash can is very attractive to a dog. Make sure that they are secured with covers so that your pet will not be tempted to explore and “fight” with meat loaf tin cans with sharp jagged rims and with broken bottles of sauces.

It would be a good idea to regularly groom the dog so that you will find the cuts and nicks and administer treatment before the cut gets infected.


Shallow cuts are not really serious and would be easy to deal with. Most nicks are not bleeders and can be treated at home. The rule of thumb is that if the cut is less than half an inch, a vet’s attention is not necessary. Of course this does not include puncture and bite wounds as the cut may be small but it is actually deep.

Kwik Stop is the magic treatment to stop bleeding of minor cuts. This is a styptic powder used for nails that are cut too short but this will do for nicks from clippers too. A dog that is hurt may be aggressive. You may need to restrain the dog with a muzzle to avoid being bitten.

Apply direct pressure on a slightly bigger cut to stop the bleeding by using gauze. Clean cloth will do if no gauze is available. Make sure that the hair is away from the cut. You may need to trim the hair around the cut. Flush the wound with a saline solution (one teaspoon salt dissolved in two cups of water). Or thoroughly soak a cotton ball with hydrogen peroxide and gently clean the area. The cotton ball must be changed several times until the area is clean. Apply Betadine or any topical antibiotic cream. Air dry the cut. Bandaging is not necessary. Some dog owner allows the pet to lick the cut. It is believed that the saliva of the dog contains germicide that quickens the healing process.

Small cuts and nicks should heal in a few days. But if the cut shows signs of infection like swelling, pus and redness around the affected area then the dog must be taken to a veterinary facility.

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