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8 Common Injuries in Dogs: Symptom, Treatment, and Prevention Tips | Pupford

April 4th, 2023

Filed under Health + Wellness

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Wouldn’t it be nice if we never had to worry about our dogs being uncomfortable or in pain?

A world without dogs getting hurt would be a great one, but unfortunately, it’s not the reality. Our dogs are susceptible to injuries from exercising, playing, accidents, and exploring a little too much.

Today we’re going to talk about some common injuries in dogs – not to scare you, but to give you the symptoms, treatments, and prevention tips you can use to keep your dog healthy and safe.

The injuries we’ll be covering are:

  1. Insect bites and stings
  2. Lacerations and puncture wounds (bites)
  3. Muscle and joint injuries
  4. Foreign body ingestion
  5. Eye injuries
  6. Back injuries
  7. Torn nails
  8. Car accidents

An important note before we get started: this article is NOT meant to replace medical advice! If your dog has experienced an injury on this list, stop reading and call your vet!

Now, let’s get started!



dog insect bites and stings

Insect bites and bee stings can cause allergic reactions in dogs, and this can be dangerous, especially if the bite/sting occurs near the eye or in the mouth.

Symptoms: Pawing at or rubbing an area, swelling, raised bumps, difficulty breathing in severe cases.

Treatments: Depending on the location and severity, treatment could range from cold compresses to topical ointments, to antihistamines, to IV treatment.

Prevention: Use a natural bug spray (specifically for dogs!) if you are not able to keep your dog out of areas that have a lot of bugs. Using shampoos that help to repel bugs is also a good idea.


dog licking at puncture wound

Playing rough, dog bites, and rough environments can cause cuts and scrapes.

Symptoms: Bleeding, possible swelling, dog licking at an area.

Treatments: Antibiotics and stitches for severe wounds, rest, and keeping your dog from licking the affected area.

Prevention: Do an assessment of any new environment to make sure there’s nothing sharp or rough before letting your dog explore it. Also, learn dog body language to use during playtime to know when other dogs are getting stressed or aggressive, so you can separate them and prevent a bite or scratch.


dog with joint injury

Dogs can pull muscles and injure joints by over-exercising, playing rough, and jumping too much.

Symptoms: The most common symptom is limping, but your dog also may become withdrawn or lethargic from pain.

Treatments: For minor sprains, your dog will likely just need to take it easy for a couple of weeks. But for injuries involving joints, tendons, ligaments, etc., or those that are more severe, your vet may immobilize the area or even need to perform corrective surgery.

Prevention: Make sure your dog gets plenty of regular exercise and a balanced diet to promote muscle and joint strength. Monitor their play carefully to make sure they aren’t getting too rough or running/jumping on surfaces they shouldn’t be.


dog eat toy and ingest something they shouldnt

Raise your hand if your dog has never put something in their mouth that they weren’t supposed to. Oh look, no hands. Dogs explore with their mouths and get tempted by new scents, causing them to chew and swallow things they shouldn't.

Symptoms: Choking, vomiting, loss of appetite, lethargy, distended stomach.

Treatments: Contact your vet or an emergency clinic immediately if you think your dog has swallowed an object. Depending on the object and how long it's been since it was ingested, you would either wait for the object to be passed, have a vet induce vomiting, or need surgery to remove the object if it causes an obstruction.

Prevention: PUPPY PROOF EVERYWHERE! Keep your dog under supervision and restricted to a “safe” area whenever possible. Give your dog plenty of opportunities for productive chewing with dog chews to keep them from seeking objects to munch on.


dog eye injury

Dogs come eye level to a lot of other animals, plants, furniture, and other objects, leaving them susceptible to injuries from scratches to corneal ulcers to full ruptures.

Symptoms: Eye discharge/tearing, squinting, redness, bulging, and swelling.

Treatments: Depending on the severity of the injury, treatment ranges anywhere from rest to medicated drops to eye coverings. Eye injuries can become serious quickly, so be sure to get your dog checked out as soon as possible to avoid potential permanent vision problems.

Prevention: Eye injuries are challenging to prevent because dogs lead with their faces towards everything. The best thing you can do is to monitor the environment for any potential hazards like bushes or other animals playing rough.


daschund prone to experience back pain and injuries

Dogs with long backs, like dachshunds and corgis, are prone to back injuries like slipped discs – but other dogs can get them too. They’re most often caused by jumping down from elevated surfaces like beds and couches.

Symptoms: Limping, trouble walking, paralysis in extreme cases.

Treatments: Depending on the severity of the injury, treatment can range from rest, to physical therapy, to surgery to correct slipped discs.

Prevention: Keep your dog at a healthy weight to minimize extra pressure on the spine. Also, teach your dog to use ramps or steps rather than jumping on and off furniture.


trimming dog nails

When your dog’s nails get too long, they could cause your dog to slip or trip, breaking or tearing the nail off.

Symptoms: Broken nail, bleeding from nail area.

Treatments: If you are unable to stop the bleeding, contact your vet. They may need to bandage the area to stop the bleeding and/or further trim the nail down to prevent it from breaking again.

Prevention: Regular nail trimmings will keep your dog’s nails short enough to significantly reduce the chances of breaks and tears.


keep your dog safe in the car

One of the top fears of dog parents is their fur baby getting hit by a car or involved in a car accident. But unfortunately, it does happen, and knowing what to do if it does can save your dog’s life.

Symptoms: External injuries can present with bleeding, swelling, limping, etc. while internal injuries may cause loss of consciousness, difficulty breathing, vomiting, and more.

Treatments: Stabilize any visible injuries by wrapping it with a cloth or towel, and bring your dog for emergency treatment as soon as possible.

Prevention: Keep your dog on a leash or within a fenced-in area whenever possible. Practice skills like impulse control and recall training for when they are off-leash. Also, keep your dog properly restrained in the back seat or trunk of your car (using a car tether or crate) when riding as a passenger.

While injuries can be scary, acting quickly and proactively can get your dog on the road to recovery.

And remember, whenever something doesn’t look “right” with your dog, or their activity and behavior changes, it’s best to reach out to your veterinarian. They are here to help, whether it be giving you a care plan over the phone or performing an exam to rule out serious injuries.

You can also check out our Dog First Aid course taught by Dr. Shelby Baden for first aid tips, preventative tips and medicine, DIY, and how to handle emergencies.

Is your pup recovering from an injury? Tell us about it in the comments so we can send them well wishes.

PS- Learn 11 ways to keep a dog calm after spaying/neutering/surgery here.


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