Many pet injuries result from a pet’s curiosity and persistence in locating and inspecting those things that can cause them harm. It is an unfortunate fact that even when we are incredibly prudent and take action to try and protect against injury, it can still sometimes happen. This means that in addition to knowing how to prevent injuries from occurring, pet owners should also know how to resolve injuries when they do occur.
Preventing Burns on Pets
Just as is the case with humans, burns on pets can be caused by heat sources, electrical equipment, and chemicals. Following basic pet fire safety rules can help to minimize the chance of pet burns occurring, which is obviously the most ideal solution. However, in the case that a pet burn does occur, pet owners who understand what to look for and how to respond to the situation are often better able to resolve it quickly and well.
Successfully treating pet burns includes assessing the extent of the burn. Minor burns that cause only superficial damage, such as first-degree burns that are painful but that leave the skin intact, can usually be treated at home with great success, whereas more severe burns that cause extensive damage and shock, such as second-degree and third-degree burns, need to be treated professionally by a veterinarian. Knowing this will help to ensure that a pet receives the proper care in a timely manner, and is less likely to have their condition exacerbated.
Once you have determined that your pet has received a burn, you need to then determine the source of the burn so that it can be properly treated. There are three main categories of burns: chemical burns, electrical burns, and heated liquid or object burns. Following are the steps to take to help your pet with a first-degree burn from any of these categories:
- For heated liquid or object burns: Cool the burned area as rapidly as possible using a stream of cold water. If the pet does not like water, you will have to figure out how to restrain them so that this can be done. It is essential to do this rapidly in order to prevent further damage to the area. After cooling the area with water you should place a cold compress, such as a bag of frozen vegetables, over the area and secure it in place with a bandage for at least twenty minutes. Then contact your veterinarian for further advice and directions.
- For chemical burns: Protect your hands with rubber gloves before removing your pet’s collar, clothing or harness–anything that may have been contaminated. Then thoroughly flush the burn with cold water for a minimum of twenty minutes before covering it with a sterile bandage and contacting your vet for further advice and directions. For a chemical burn in the mouth, it is best to immediately schedule an emergency visit with your vet, but they may advise you to lie your pet on their side so you can pour cool water through their mouth.
- For electrical burns: Make sure electricity is shut off to the source of the burn before pulling your pet away from this source. Then, proceed to treat the burn in the same way you treat a burn from a heated liquid or object.
Though it may seem like a way to help soothe the pain, you should not put any sort of cream, ointment, butter or margarine on a pet burn as it does not help and may actually serve to aggravate the injury–especially if the pet tries to lick the area.
If your pet is suffering from a second-degree or third-degree burn, you should dress the area in sterile cotton, wrap it with clean sheets and take your pet to the veterinarian immediately. Not only is rapid treatment needed in order to prevent more extensive damage from occurring, rapid treatment is also necessary to prevent the animal from going into shock.