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.
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).