by Sam Mazzotta
Dear Paw’s Corner: My dog Jesse was bitten on the face by another dog, injuring his snout and nose so badly that it required several stitches. I can’t get Jesse to stop licking and pawing at the wound, and now he’s tearing out the stitches. The wound looks infected. What should I do?
Dear Kamo: Head straight back to the veterinarian to get the wound treated for infection and closed up again. This time, have Jesse fitted for a cone-shaped E-collar. It’s jokingly called the cone of shame, but is an important medical device for helping to heal just such an injury.
Dogs really don’t like E-collars, and they can cause stress, but if he’s able to paw at the wound, it must be worn. You can take it off Jesse at mealtimes so he can access his food, but it must go right back on.
There are a few other protective collars available that are more comfortable, like padded rings, but these may not stop the pawing.
Jesse’s also licking his nose, which is understandable since it probably feels weird and swollen and itchy. This can be a problem area because dogs naturally lick their nose throughout the day. The vet may give you medicine to help it heal or may recommend an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment. Put the medicine on as directed.
Help reduce the chance of infection by having clean, fresh water for Jesse to drink (to clean his tongue before licking his nose) and replacing any manky old dog toys (which have a lot of germs) with clean chew toys. Don’t let Jesse sniff at or eat nasty stuff (dogs love roadkill and other animals’ poo) until the wounds heal.
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