Burns And Scalds

Dogs can be severely burned by exposure to flame, hot ashes, lightning, electric shock or chemicals. They can also be scalded by hot liquids or steam.

First degree burns, in which the skin turns red, are the most common type of burns. Severe burns, in which the skin is charred or blackened, may occur.


First degree burns: skin red or blistered. The hair is singed. Severe burns: skin charred or blackened.

First Aid

If the burns are small, first degree and localized to small areas, proceed as follows:

Carefully trim away hair from burned areas. Wash the burns with mild soap and water. Apply a thick grease, such as Vaseline, axle grease, butter or commercial burn ointment. Tea has often been recommended in the first aid of burns. Tea contains tannic acid which reduces pain and helps to minimize fluid losses. Fluid losses are the greatest danger in burns. However, tea should not be used in treating large burns or large burned areas, since the tannic acid can be toxic to cells.

If the dog has large burns of any degree, treat as follows:

Should a veterinarian be within an hour's travel, cover the burns with clean cloth and take the dog to the veterinarian.

If you are in an isolated place, you will have to render first aid. Carefully trim away hair from the burned areas, cover burns with thick grease or burn ointment and put a sterile pad or cloth on top. Next, wrap a clean cloth over the first dressing, then bandage the whole dressing with roller bandage or cloth. Treat for shock. Get the dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

In treating burns o£ any degree, do not touch them with your fingers, breathe on them or apply any antiseptic. Simply apply a thick grease or ointment to exclude air and prevent fluid losses.

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