Pet Burns: Treating and Prevention

Ever watch a cat jump up on a stove and think, “what if that had been on?” Dogs will instinctively stay away from heat but cats love heat and may go too close to a heat source. Cats will also lie on hot surfaces and not realize that the surface is too hot.

If a cat or dog becomes burned over 25% of the body, they can go into shock. It is important for all pet owners to know what to do in the case of burns.

The first thing to do is to keep your pet warm and to summon medical attention for your pet. To keep your pet from going into shock apply some Karo syrup or honey to the pet’s gums; this should keep your pet conscious.

Mild or first-degree burns can be managed at home but you should still call the vet to let him/her know about the burn. The first thing to do for a mild burn is to clip away any long hair so that the entire burn can be seen. Do not clip close to the skin though. You will need to cleanse the area using cool water and a mild soap. After cleansing, pat dry and apply Aloe Vera to the burned area three to five times each day until the area is healed. Do not use cotton balls or swabs to cleanse the area, as the cotton fibers will stick to the burned skin.

Burns more serious than first-degree burns need to be seen by a vet immediately. Always know the emergency animal hospital’s phone number or have it with you.

Serious pet burns will take some time to heal and you will probably be instructed to apply a wet-to-dry bandage which is a sterile gauze pad soaked in either sterile water or saline solution covered by a dry bandage at least 4 to 5 times each day for the first few days after the burn occurrence. A dry Telfa pad bandage can usually be used after the first few days have passed. Your vet will give you specific instructions for caring for the burn and also tell you signs to look for regarding infection.

Heat, chemicals, electrical cords, and also sunburn can cause pet burns. Skin damage from the burn can be mild or severe just like in human burns.

A mild burn on your pet can look red, may have slight swelling and perhaps be tender. More severe burns will have blisters, the skin may appear white, or it can look charred. Fluid may be seeping out of a severe burn, which can lead to shock and should be taken seriously.

If your pet suffers from a small, mild burn you can apply cold-water soaks or cold packs for 20 minutes to relieve pain. You can apply antibiotic ointment such as Neosporin or Furacin. Neosporin is an over-the-counter medication found in most stores or drug stores.

If your pet suffers a chemical burn, flush the area with lots of water. If a acid chemical burn rinse with baking soda (4 tablespoons of baking soda to one pint of water)

If the chemical burns is alkali in nature rinse with a weak vinegar solution (2 tablespoons of vinegar to one pint of water).

Pat dry and apply the antibiotic ointment. Always bandage with a sterile dry bandage to keep the area clean.