Burns in Dogs: Symptoms and Treatment

dog burn picture

Dogs are lovely creation by the almighty and are great companion for the human kind. There are many heath issues in dogs like the human beings. Burn is one such serious heath issue. Let’s discuss it out here.


Burns are very dangerous, be it human being or dog. In few cases, even with the best of treatment, it takes the life of dog. Burns is life threatening, more so in few underlining causes such as electrolyte imbalance, anemia, and dehydration etc. Secondary infections are also very common in burns. If the dog develops sepsis, then there is no chance for survival. Both very young and very old dogs are more prone for sepsis. The reason is compromised immune system. Burns and sepsis are very deadly combination as the body of the dog is already inflamed as the result of burn.


Skin in the dog is the single largest organ of the body.  Burn close to 15 % will be very dangerous and life threatening. Chemical burns can happen to dog as they are highly prone for accidents if they are too playful and not monitored properly. The burns in dog can be the result of walking in very hot path or pavement or running around in hot sun or getting near the barbeque equipment if they are lighted. Slipped hot liquids, metal surface that is very hot, and the heated lamps are the there few reasons for burn in dog. Scalding water, hair dryers, and radiation from radiator can also result in burns quite understandably.


The Burn Symptoms


The burn in dog can happen in front of your eyes or in your absence. Nothing to worry, one can very easily finds out the burns s in dog as there few telling symptoms one can look for. There will be loss of hair in one part for no apparent reason. This will be the first and fore most symptom in burn.


Let the area be completely examined to rule out the other causes. In case of burns, the skin in that area will present leather like apperance. At times the skin surface will appear completely white in color. This will soon be followed by exposed skin or red skin. If these symptoms are noticed, then one can conjure that the dog is seriously affected by burn. In addition to this, if blisters are noticed, then burns at this stage is life threatening. Sepsis will soon follow the blister, and then the chance of survival is very remote. 


Types of burns


In dogs the classification of the burns is completely different from the human beings. In human beings the burns are classified as first degree, second degree and third degree etc. but in case of dogs the burn is classified based on the thickness and the extend of burn.


The first form of burn in dog is known as superficial partial thickness skin. This can be compared with first degree burn in human beings. Here only the top layer of the skin of the dog is affected. The skin will still be intact, the skin will appear red and there will not be any blisters. But the affected area will be painful as there will be swelling.


The next form is known as deep partial thickness burn.  This is more serious and can be compared with second degree burn in human beings. Here, the top layer and few deeper layers are also affected. At this stage, the dog can not be treated at home and should be taken to veterinary hospital at once. There won’t be any hair attached in the affected part, the skin will be red and the dog will be in very severe pain. In the second degree burn in human beings, there will be development of blisters. But in dog, the blister formation is very rare. There may not be blisters, but the burn had penetrated too few deep layers of the skin thus facilitating quick spread of the infection. The swelling will be very much visible. The dog will be under severe pain.


The final form is known as full thickness burn. This can be compared to the third degree burn in human beings. This is very serious form as all most all layers of the skin is affected. There will be blisters and absolute loss of hair. There will be pronounced swelling. But one storage aspect is that the dog will not be in any pain because it will be going in to shock.  

How To Treat Burns in Dogs?

The type of treatment depends very much on the type of the burn. Whatever, may be the type of treatment, one commonality is observed. The affected part should be cooled at the earliest. There are many homeopathic remedies for the abrasion, scratches, and many other injuries in dogs. But one should never try any such things because, the burns is completely different issue than those listed above.


Let the affected area be applied cool water as early as possible. Let us not think of using the ice, as this will result in reducing the temperature of the body and at times frostbite can follow.  The cool water can be applied at regular interval up to 45 – 60 minutes or till you get the professional help. Any other type of treatment will worsen the condition instead of helping.


The superficial partial thickness burn can be treated with ease by the veterinarian with the help of topical creams and iodine. The burn will heal within few days. If the dog suffers from deep partial thickness burn, then the dog needs to be admitted in the hospital. The dog must be given food and electrolytes through intravenous route.

The dog should be hydrated sufficiently. In case of full thickness burn and if the extend of damage is more than 15 %, the dog requires extensive hospitalization and skin grafting. From this stage saving the life of the dog depends on the owner’s decision as the cost of treatment will be very high and many can’t manage. Even if saved the appearance, quality of life will be very big question mark.

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