08 Nov A Yellow Dog with a Black Eye
Disagreements between dogs happen all the time especially at the off-leash dog park. Every step should be taken to minimize the chance of a fight, but it can happen.
If a dog has been injured during a fight, it is important to assess the dog and look for injuries before moving on. Depending on their coat and skin type an injury can remain hidden until it is too late for stitches, or an infection has set in.
It is important to stay calm and attend to your dog before you discuss the incident with the other dog owner. Dogs take their behavioural cues from us and the calmer we are the better able they will be at regulating their behaviour.
Run your hands over the dog, brushing his hair against the grain checking your hands frequently for blood.
If the punctures are small and the skin and flesh have not been pulled or stretched during the fight they can usually be attended to at home. Use a shaver or scissors to clean away as much hair as possible around the wound. Wash the area with soap and lots of water. Use a cone (or similar devise) to keep the dog from licking the wound.
If the wound is deep or the skin and flesh have been pulled, then a trip to the vet is necessary to ensure that the structures under the skin will heal properly and the risk of infection is controlled.
If your dog has been in a fight and, regardless of any injuries, he/she should be leashed and removed from the park as soon as possible. After an altercation the animal’s adrenaline can remain elevated for 24 – 48 hours. During that time the dog should be kept quiet at home and/or remain on leash to avoid further arousal and unwanted behaviours.
Register for a pet first aid course.