When your dog has surgery or has an injury, they may end up with stitches to help them heal properly. The stitches help hold the skin or muscle together from their injury or surgical procedure and usually dissolve or are removed by the veterinarian after a specific amount of time. If your dog has stitches, especially in an area such as their abdomen or legs, you'll need to be very careful in keeping the area clean and also to prevent your dog from biting or chewing in this area. To help you care for your dog's stitches, there are a few things you should know. Read on for helpful tips.
Keep The Area Covered
If the area is someplace on your dog's body that can easily get dirty, or they can get to, you'll want to keep it covered in order to keep it clean and dry, as well as to prevent your dog from biting or licking the area and opening up their sutures. Cover the area with gauze and medical tape. At night, when you're home and can keep a close eye on your dog, and if the wound is starting to heal, you should remove the gauze and tape to allow air to get to the area to help it heal better.
Use An E-Collar
You should keep an e-collar on your dog if they have stitches in an area where they can easily get to. If you don't put this collar on their neck, they will easily be able to get to the wound and lick their stitches, which will open and make it more difficult to heal, as well as opening up the area to infection. You can get an e-collar from your veterinarian, or at the animal hospital where your dog had their procedure, or you can purchase one online or at a local pet supply store. E-collars come in a variety of sizes to fit your pup properly. Make sure it's not too snug on their neck but isn't too loose that it falls off easily. Also, be sure that the cone itself is long enough that your dog cannot get to their wound.
Clean The Area And Watch For Infection
In addition to keeping the area clean and dry with gauze and tape, you should also be cleaning the area with alcohol wipes. If you suspect your dog has an infection, you can also apply a warm washcloth to the area to help clean the area and to help reduce swelling. If your dog's wound appears infected, is oozing, or is inflamed, take your dog back to the pet hospital for help.
If your dog has had stitches for any reason at all, you're going to need to keep the area clean, dry and prevent the stitches from breaking. This area needs to heal properly and you have to help your dog through this time. Talk to the local animal hospital about your dog's stitches if you suspect there is an infection or other issues with your dog's stitches