Although a dog’s saliva has mild healing properties, it is not enough to heal an open wound. The persistent licking can hamper the natural healing process of injuries and may, instead, cause more harm than good.
Research suggests that dogs lick their wounds to block the pain and to clean out any dirt or debris left. The behavior can be traced back to the time before dogs were domesticated, which is a good thing since they are feral dogs. But unlike pets of today where they have enough time to tend to their wounds, wild dogs of before are busy staying alive. It means that if your dog keeps on licking his wounds, healing is not going to happen. This will prompt him to lick his wounds more, and you get the picture.
It’s a bit difficult, but there are ways you can keep your dog distracted from his wounds especially injuries with stitches – from buying products specifically designed to prevent your pooch from accessing his wounds to mind stimulating games.
Collars or funnels
Collars, also referred to as the cone of shame, are an excellent way to keep your dog from licking their wounds. However, due to its bulky style, it may cause some dogs to be terrified. Your pooch may try to crash the sides of the collar against walls or doorways. The fear may come from the fact that the collar limits a dog’s peripheral vision.
To relieve your pooch’s fears, try using a transparent collar. There are also collars that are inflatable, which is a good alternative to the traditional stiff collars. Just make sure that you inflate these collars wide enough to keep your pooch from turning around to lick his wounds.
After the treatment is done, a vet can put a sock or a boot over the injured paw or if the injury is somewhere on your dog’s body, a body tube. Your pooch may try to fuss over it for a while but may eventually stop after realizing he can’t open it. Boots, socks, t-shirts, body tubes, and bandages are available in many pet supply stores if you can’t fashion one from home.
Create a diversion
To prevent your dog from fussing over his newly bandaged wound, give your pooch something to do. Try playing with him or engage him with food puzzles. You can try coming up with ideas to keep him occupied and get his mind off from his injury. Furthermore, see this time as an opportunity for you to teach your pooch new tricks and commands.
All in all, always seek proper medical care whenever your dog gets sick or is injured. Your veterinarian will determine the cause of the injury and will give your pet the proper medication. If bandages are necessary, your vet will advise you what to do and will change the bandage on a regular basis. Call your vet if your dog’s wounds are infected, swelling and may emit a different odor.