It is common for dog owners to acknowledge that their vet bills cost a lot more than their own visit to the doctor.
When it comes to dogs, they can get overly playful and injure themselves which requires stitches. It hits you deep in the stomach if you have to say to yourself “my dog needs stitches but I can’t afford it.”
There was a period of time when my dog had some issues with his kidneys and needed regular vet visits. That really set me back by quite a lot financially.
In this article, we will be showing you how to apply general first aid to your dog in the event of an injury. We will also be discussing other healthcare options for dog owners if money is an issue and require financial assistance.
Can Dog Wounds Heal Without Stitches?
It is possible for a dog’s wound to heal with stitches.
I have lost count of the number of times that my dog has had cuts, scratches and scrapes from being clumpy or an unfortunate incident.
I didn’t bring my dog to the vet as I felt it wasn’t serious enough for that. Furthermore, I had a well-stocked first aid box at home for my family and pets.
Not many people will tell you this but you really do need a first aid box for your dog or pets.
There will be times when you just need to dress your dog’s wound without having to run off to the pharmacy or vet.
Here’s what you should have in the first aid kit.
- General antiseptic cleaner for pets
- Wire gauze pads
- Small scissors
- Antibiotic ointment
Most of the stuff you can get from your local drugstore. I would suggest getting an antiseptic cleaner and antibiotic ointment from the vet.
Just let them know that it is for cuts and scrapes and they should be able to prescribe the appropriate veterinary medicine for you.
Can I Use Neosporin On My Dog?
Neosporin is an antibiotic topical cream that is meant for humans. It helps to eliminate bacteria on the skin which can cause further infection in the wound.
Made for humans, the active ingredients present in the cream might not be safe for dogs.
Given that it is a topical cream, it means that it will be rubbed onto your dog’s skin.
Some dogs might be sensitive to the active ingredients and have an allergic reaction.
Another reason that it can be dangerous to dogs is from ingesting the cream by licking it.
There’s a risk of diarrhea and vomiting when ingested so it’s best to cover the wound up or use an E-collar.
A little amount of Neosporin is safe for most dogs but please check with your vet first before using it.
Dressing The Wound
It is important to know how to dress the wound properly so that it can heal as quickly as possible.
Here are the steps.
Trim The Fur Area The Area
This may or may not be a necessary step depending on the length of your dog’s fur.
For dogs with longer fur, it might be clean and apply medication to the wound if you can trim the fur around it.
For short-haired dogs, it might be needed as the fur is flushed with the skin.
Make sure that you use a pair of scissors that is clean.
Wash And Clean The Area
This is an important step and needs to be done without fail. Take a clean cloth and wash the wounded area with some warm water and soap.
You can also use the antiseptic cleaning solution to clean it again for good measure
Once done, gently pat dry the area with a dry cloth.
Apply The Antibiotic Ointment
Apply a thin layer of antibiotic ointment to the wound which helps to prevent infection.
Put a layer of wire gauze pad on it.
Wrap up the wound with the bandage and secure it.
If you are using something like Ble Kote, make sure that your dog doesn’t lick the Blu Kote lotion as it can cause a tummy upset.
A few pointers about applying a bandage.
You do not want to put on the bandage too tightly until it starts to cut off the blood flow to the wound.
Neither do you want it to be too loose whereby it can easily slip off.
Firmly secured is what you should be aiming for.
If your dog doesn’t like having a bandage on and tries to remove it with its mouth, you will have to put an E-collar on it for the time being.
Do get the dressing wet or dirty or it can exacerbate the severity of the wound and delay healing.
Change The Dressing
Don’t just dress the wound once and expect it to be dandy. The dressing will get dirty with dried blood and discharge after a while.
Make sure to change your dog’s dressing every 4-6 hours and repeat the above steps each time.
One more important thing to note.
Every time you change the dressing, make sure to observe the wound.
- Is it still bleeding?
- Does it smell bad?
- Is there pus discharge?
Most superficial wounds will start to heal after 24 hours. If you still notice the above after that, you will need to bring your dog.
There might have been a more serious infection that needs veterinary care.
Does My Dog Need Stitches?
I know that vet bills can be costly but if your dog has a deep cut with severe bleeding, please do not attempt to treat it at home.
Your dog needs to be seen by a vet who is better trained to handle such a serious injury.
This includes bite wounds by other dogs or animals, puncture wounds or deep lacerations.
These types of deep wounds need to be properly and thoroughly cleaned with special instruments while your dog is sedated.
After which, the wound will need to be stitched up to stop the bleeding.
Failure to stop the bleeding or if your dog has a serious infection from the wound can have an impact on your dog’s health.
What you can do to help while taking your dog to the vet is to try and stop the bleeding.
Use a cloth and place it over the open wound while applying pressure.
How Much Do Pet Stitches Cost?
The stitching cost in the United States ranges from $100 – $350. The more complicated and severe the wound, the more expensive it will be.
You will also need to factor in other costs like consultation, sedation and post-surgery medication.
My Dog Needs Surgery And I Can’t Afford It
Not having deep pockets or enough money doesn’t mean that you are not able to provide good and proper for your canine companion.
Here are some options that you can consider.
Speak To Your Vet About A Payment Plan
If you have a local vet that you have been going to, speak to them to see if it is possible to pay off the vet bill via a payment plan.
Some vets that I’ve spoken to were even kind enough to offer a slight discount on top of a payment plan.
These payments aren’t auto-deducted from my bank account and had to be made manually. So be sure to be prompt with payments.
Go To A Cheaper Clinic
As much as you like your dog’s current vet, it won’t do your pockets any favors if they are the most expensive in town.
You might have to start calling up other vet clinics to enquire about their prices.
You might be able to find one that can provide the same treatment but is cheaper.
Veterinary Teaching Hospitals
If you have a veterinary teaching hospital in your town, you can try talking to them about subsidized medical treatment for your dog.
Some of these hospitals do offer charitable funding to pet owners who require financial aid.
Try Red Rover
Red Rover is a charitable organization that aims to help pet owners that require financial aid, emotional support and resources.
The financial grant is aimed at helping pets with serious health problems. If you fit the bill, it is worth applying to find out.
Start A Go Fund Me
There are many animal lovers out there who are happy and willing to financially help pet owners with their vet bills.
The rise of many such online platforms has made it a lot easier to ask for donations from global internet samaritans.
If you plan to use such a platform, make sure to be very transparent about the state of your dog’s condition and the amount needed.
Can You Give Your Dog Stitches At Home?
Do not under any circumstance attempt to give your dog stitches at home.
Stitching up your dog’s wound needs to be done by a proper vet and with your dog sedated.
Doing so without the proper training or the right conditions will cause more harm than good to your dog.
Can You Super Glue A Cut On A Dog?
Do not put any form of super glue on your dog’s cut thinking that it can help stop the bleeding and heal the wound.
The kind of super glue that you purchase from the hardware store isn’t sterile and is not meant to be used on dogs.
It contains many harsh chemicals that can make the wound worse.
Some vets use surgical glue or skin glue which is a polymer to help with wound repair.
These glues can be bought over the counter but make sure to check with your vet before using them on your dog.
Get Pet Insurance As Soon As Possible
Not many pet owners are believers in pet insurance until they need it urgently. It has been reported that only 1-3% of pets in America are insured.
Pet owners should start to insure their dogs from a young age when the premiums are cheaper and the dogs are healthier.
Insuring older dogs do require a higher premium and some insurers will not cover existing medical conditions.
Not all insurers are made equal though.
Some cover more illnesses and procedures than others. So make sure to do your research and get a few quotes.
Not every injury that your dog has needs to be a matter of life and death.
As dog owners, it is useful for us to know how to treat and dress superficial cuts and wounds.
These can happen rather often, especially to younger dogs who are a lot more energetic and boisterous.
However, there are times when your dog needs immediate medical attention.
This would be for deep and severe injuries that require professional help and stitches.
Please do not attempt to treat severe injuries on your own as it can do more harm to your dog.