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First Aid for Pet Burns and Scalds

First Aid for Pet Burns and Scalds

The thought of an animal suffering a scald or burn is hard to take, but with a little knowledge you can be prepared to take the proper course of action–and to avoid doing things that can hurt your pet even more.

First thing to do: examine the extent of the burn. Look under the fur. If the skin is intact, apply or submerge in cold water. Never use ice.

Burns are categorized by depth. First-degree burns are superficial, second-degree burns extend to the middle layer of the skin, and third-degree burns are the deepest:

• First-degree burns: Superficial, stemming from minor sunburns or hot liquids, red and slightly swollen.

• Second-degree burns: Affecting middle skin layer, from deep sunburns or flash burns from chemical, blistered and wet looking.

• Third-degree burns: Involving the deepest skin destruction, white and puffy or charred and black.

First- and Second- Degree Burns
Submerge or rinse with cold water or apply a clean cloth soaked in cold water.
If blisters are closed, apply a clean, dry bandage.
If blisters are open, do not cover.
Do not break blisters open. Do not peel skin.
Let heal naturally.
If blister is large or does not heal, consult your veterinarian.

Third-degree Burns
Do not move the animal unless necessary.
Do not immerse in cold water.
Treat for shock (cover animal to retain body heat).
Apply a clean, thick, dry dressing (don’t wrap, just cover).
Do not remove burned skin or charred material.
Seek veterinary attention immediately.

Adapted from Homeopathic First Aid For Animals by Kaetheryn Walker (Healing Arts Press, 1998).

Read more: Pets, Safety, , , ,

Adapted from Homeopathic First Aid For Animals by Kaetheryn Walker (Healing Arts Press, 1998)

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.


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11:41AM PST on Dec 1, 2013

call yo vet

11:40AM PST on Dec 1, 2013

FOR humans animals, I used to wash the fat off asap with antiseptic soap the split second I been burnt, and then apply aloe vera, and also lavender, with a slightly covered ice pack. Not long ago, I didnt do this and for the first time I got a second degree burn and it looked really awful.

6:55PM PST on Jan 20, 2013

Good info. I thought about this topic tonight while carrying a hot pan with grease across the kitchen. My dog likes to follow me around and I'd hate to think I would be careless enough to spill something on her. I would feel awful but would want to know how to care for her and minimize the pain and scarring. I would think it would be difficult to remove the fur from the burned area to treat. Any comments would be appreciated.

2:28PM PDT on Mar 19, 2012

Very informative. Thanks for posting!

9:10AM PDT on Mar 19, 2012

Thanks from me and my two fur-bags. I've often wondered how to deal with pet burns - not that they play with matches.

4:49AM PST on Feb 14, 2012

Thanks for the article.

8:50AM PDT on Jun 23, 2011

Great information.
Thank you

4:23AM PST on Jan 25, 2011

Thyanks for the information

11:51PM PDT on Apr 23, 2010

I would have never considered the "Shock" advise. I love my animals so much that if they look sad, I call my vet. Lol

11:49PM PDT on Apr 23, 2010

TY so much. AWESOME information.

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