Living beings are designed to heal our wounds and dogs are no exception. That is, when the dog suffers a wound, the immune system is activated and immediately begins to work to fight infections and close it.
The skin is made up of several layers, which can suffer different types of cuts, scratches, burns or wounds. The body is designed to deal with these situations, proceeding to heal the wound. And knowing the process allows us to promote healing through the application of very effective methods.
In this article we are going to analyze different natural remedies that have proven to be magnificent allies in healing your dog’s wounds.
How do my dog’s wounds heal?
Wound healing is divided into four phases:
The inflammation is the first phase of healing and start immediately. Its function is control bleeding and activate the immune system. To do this, blood clots form and the blood vessels constrict, limiting blood loss to the area.
This process requires the intervention of specialized cells of the immune system, which deal with contaminating bacteria and any dead tissue.
After a few hours, the debridement begins, to remove dead tissue. To do this, the immune cells form the pus, which flows like a liquid from the wound, dragging the debris with it.
The cells that were involved in the inflammation phase are now actively working to consume the dead tissue and clean the area.
In a couple of days, collagen begins to fill in the wound, uniting the torn tissues. This process can take several weeks to complete. New blood vessels are now growing in the area from nearby uninjured vessels.
The edge of the wound begins to produce “granulation tissue,” the moist pink tissue that will eventually fill the wound. The wound shrinks, in a process called “wound contraction”, allowing new skin formationwhich will cover it.
After two or three weeks the ripening process begins, which can last for months or years. Enough collagen has already been produced to begin the final phase. The scar grows strongeras new blood vessels and nerves grow and tissue reorganizes.
The end result will never be as strong as uninjured tissuebut should reach about 80% of the original strength.
scarring and granulation tissue
The granulation tissue It is produced in the first weeks of healing, especially in the soft parts of the wound, to fill in the dead spaces. It is very rich in fibroblasts, capillaries and collagen, but until it reaches maturity it has little consistency.
First intention healing
- Healing by first intention, also called primary, takes place in linear wounds with well-defined borderswhere you can produce a direct closure.
- For example, when the wound is a surgical incision with sutures, there are no areas that the body can fill with granulation tissue. The wound margins are held together by sutures and all they have to do is weld together.
- In this case, new skin begins to form within two days.
- All four phases of healing occur, but they are much faster than in the case of non-surgical wounds, since voids are eliminated here and granulation tissue does not need to form.
- The entire process usually takes 10-14 days.
- Healing occurs along the margin of the wound, not its entire length.
- Long incisions heal just as quickly as short ones.
Secondary intention healing
- Healing by second or secondary intention occurs when there is tissue loss and the edges are separated, so the wound is open and the gap is filled with granulation tissue to achieve closure.
- This situation occurs when the wound is too bigthere is too much tension on the margins, it is too infected, or for some other reason it cannot be closed with sutures.
- When the wound is filled with granulation tissue, the contraction of the wound occurs, which becomes smaller and smaller, closing on its own.
Third intention healing
- If left long enough, the wound usually closes on its own, but when it becomes small enough, the margins can be trimmed and surgically closed by first intention.
- By doing this, the scar will be smaller and will have better skin coverage.
- Skin grafts are sometimes applied, but only if there is a healthy granulation bed.
- That is, tertiary or third-intention healing occurs when secondary intention conditions occur and a surgeon manipulates the processclosing the opening by means of stitches or grafts, to redirect the process towards primary healing.
Natural remedies to heal dog wounds
The magical power of honey
Honey is an excellent product for healing and treating deep or infected wounds. When a population of bacteria infects a wound, a biofilm forms that favors bacterial growth and slows healing.
Honey has been used as a wound dressing since time immemorial and scientific research has discovered that it possesses a number of pBiological properties that fight infection and promote healing.
On the one hand, it is acidic, that is, it has a low pH, and bacteria thrive in alkaline environments (high pH). Therefore, its use inhibits bacterial growth.
Among other things, when applying a honey dressing to a wound, a flow of water from surrounding tissues, with the intention of diluting it. This causes inflammation to decrease, speeding up recovery. In addition, it also draws fluid from inside the bacteria, dehydrating and killing them. On the other hand, the wound surface remains moist, reducing pain.
Honey also has a enzyme called glucose oxidasethat releases hydrogen peroxide (hydrogen peroxide), a product widely known as a broad-spectrum disinfectant and sterilant against microbes.
The best honey for medical use is Manuka honey.
Sugar, another sweet option
Sugar almost rivals honey in the ability to treat infections. also has power antibacterial, accelerates wound healing and reduces swelling (edema).
Like honey, sugar has traditionally been used to heal infected wounds, severe burns, road burns (such as when a dog jumps out of a car/truck and is dragged), and flesh-eating bacteria (also called necrotizing fasciitis).
As with honey, after a wound is cleaned and dead tissue is removed, sugar is poured over it, bandaging it and preventing the dog from licking it off. You will have to change the bandages after 24 hours.
When you remove the bandage, wash with hot water, gently pat the wound dry, reapply sugar and bandage the wound.
Hydrotherapy can help
Hydrotherapy can be very effective in the healing process of your dog’s wounds. Running water Helps wash away pus and dead skin cellsin addition to stimulating the growth of scar tissue.
After running cool water over the wound for about ten minutes with a hose or faucet, allow the area to dry completely. When the wound is dry, you can apply a topical medication prescribed by your vet to promote the healing process.
Lavender oil for sores and small cuts
The powerful healing, analgesic and antimicrobial properties of this oil make it a handy option to have on hand for sudden cuts and scratches. The oil is very gentle on the skin, so it can be applied directly to the body. Simply apply a thin layer of less than a drop directly to the sore or cut.
Additionally, you can cover the wound with bandages to protect it from any infection or recurring skin sores. You can use hydrotherapy before applying lavender oil.
Calendula Officinalis and other herbs
- Calendula Officinales promotes healing and is antimicrobial. It can be applied in the form of a gel, cream, oil or ointment.
- To open wounds with space that needs to be filled, or if there is exposed boneadd a little symphytum (comfrey)again in gel, oil or ointment form, as it encourages the growth of granulation tissue (the pink, highly vascularized tissue that fills in wounds before the skin closes).
- If you only have the dry herb Symphytum, you can mix it with calendula oil, gel, cream, or ointment. Add the dried herb only if you can successfully perform hydrotherapy, as those bits of herb will have to come out with each bandage change.
- The wounds with large areas of skin that need to regrow should have a moist bandage. Keeping the wound moist allows the skin to grow over the wound. In that case, use a water-based calendula gel instead of oil or ointment. Keeping the bandage wet can be tricky. Covering it with some kind of plastic will help keep it from drying out.
Centella asiatica is a plant that grows in humid and swampy areas and has properties antipyretic, analgesic and anti-inflammatory. Its effectiveness has been scientifically endorsed.
That’s it healing, since it favors the production of collagen and the formation of new epithelial tissue. It is usually used as a topical treatment for skin wounds, even when they are infected, and it also prevents the formation of keloids and excessively large scars.
You can apply it as an ointment or as a dry powder to sprinkle on the wound, then bandage it to prevent the dog from licking it.
- The healing of dog wounds is a process that consists of four phases, in which the wound is closed and disinfected naturally.
- However, there are products and actions that can accelerate and improve this natural process.
- The dog’s body produces granulation tissue to bind the edges of the wound together.
- Healing can be first, second, or third intention.
- There are very effective natural remedies that will help speed up the healing process of your dog’s wounds.
- Consult your vet before applying any natural remedy to your dog.