First Aid for a dog with heat burns
Dogs too like humans can sustain injuries from accidents. But while humans would cry because of the pain, dogs would nurse their injuries silently . The responsibility of a dog owner goes beyond getting medical care for the pet. A dog owner has to notice anything unusual in the behavior or in the appearance of the pet as oftentimes, the change is caused by a health concern.
Dogs normally stay away from open fires thus heat burns are not common injuries of dogs. However, dogs are very active and inquisitive animals. A dog trying to get the cooling steak beside the grill can get burned by the smoldering coals. Owners using hairdryer to groom the dog must be careful as a resistant dog can get burned by the hot nozzle of the dryer. The dog’s tough leathery paw pads are no match to hot pavement or hot coals.
Unless the fur is scorched, the affected area of the dog’s body may not be easily noticed by the owner. Skin that was superficially burned will redden and swell. Reddening and swelling of the skin as well as the formation of blisters are the symptoms of partial thickness burns or second degree burn. The two classifications of heat burns would have the dog in pain. Full thickness burn is not unlike third degree burn in humans where the skin peels off and cause the tissues under the skin to swell. Deep burns cause the destruction of the nerves thus the dog would not really feel pain. Deeply burned skin will turn either white or black and because of destroyed hair follicles, the hair can be easily pulled out.
Superficial burns can be treated at home with first aid treatment but a seriously burned dog has to have professional medical care. A seriously burned dog has to be hospitalized especially if the burned area is more than 15% of the skin. However, the seriously burned dog would still need first aid treatments so that the pet’s condition is stabilized before it is transported to the hospital.
Cooling the affected area is the first aid treatment for heat burn. To lower the heat in the burned area, the affected body part like the tail, limb or paw has to be dipped in cool water. The burned skin can be covered with a wash cloth soaked in cool water. Dry the burned area carefully taking care not to rub the skin. Ointment, grease or butter must not be applied to the burned area as it will seal in the heat and cause more damage.