First Aid for Pet Burns and Scalds

Almost all animal burns and scalds ensue from contact with direct heat like hot water, with grease, or other liquids; with chemical agents, or from gnawing on wires. A burn is induced by dry heat, like flames, while a scald is caused by damp heat—hot liquids spilled on the body, for example. Emergency treatment involves the following:

Thermal—For heat burns, help cool the area by putting on cold water or an ice pack for 20-30 minutes. Put on an antibacterial cream. Never apply butter, margarine, grease, salad oil, or other home remedies; these would just trap the heat and hold up the healing.

Chemical—For burns by corrosive chemicals, flush the skin with large amounts of cool water. If the substance contains an alkali, follow with a rinse of equal parts water and vinegar. If the substance contains an acid, follow through using a baking-soda rinse (2 to 3 tablespoons per quart of warm water).

Electrical—unplug the wire from its power source when it is still touching the dog's body. When you can not unplug the cord, cover a heavy towel around your hand or use a ruler, broom handle, or other nonconductor of electricity to force the wire out of the mouth or off from the body. Keep the dog warm and get veterinary attention right away.

Extensive outside burns from fire and scalding liquids can be a very serious emergency. Keep the dog warm and quiet and get prompt veterinary treatment.

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