Dog Pressure Sores: How To Prevent Them

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dog pressure sores prevention
Photo by: Dilan Lee from Pexels

Pressure sores, also known as bedsores, are a common issue in dogs that are unable to move around freely due to an illness or injury. They can also occur in dogs that are confined to one spot for long periods of time, such as in a kennel or crate. These sores are caused by prolonged pressure on one area of the skin, which can lead to damage to the underlying tissue.

Pressure sores in dogs typically appear as red or dark discolored areas of skin, and they can range in size from small spots to large, open wounds. They are often found on bony areas of the body, such as the hips, elbows and shoulders.

Prevention of pressure sores in dogs

Preventing pressure sores is important to keep your dog comfortable, as well as prevent them from getting infected. To prevent dog pressure sores, it is important to keep your dog as mobile as possible and to change their position regularly. If your dog is unable to move around freely, you should use a soft and supportive surface for them to lie on, such as a foam pad or sheepskin. Make sure that the surface is cleaned and changed often.

If your dog does develop pressure sores, it is important to seek veterinary attention immediately. Your veterinarian may clean and bandage the sores, administer antibiotics or even hospitalize your pet to manage pain, prevent infection or dress wounds.

Here are some steps you can take to prevent pressure sores in your dog:

dog pressure sores prevention

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Keep your dog mobile. Encourage your dog to move around as much as possible, even if they are recovering from an injury or illness. This will help to redistribute the pressure on their skin and prevent the formation of sores.

Change positions regularly. If your dog is confined to one spot for an extended period of time, make sure to change their position regularly. This will help to redistribute pressure on their skin and prevent the formation of sores.

Use a supportive surface. If your dog is confined to a crate or kennel, make sure to provide a soft and supportive surface for them to lie on, such as a foam pad or sheepskin. Make sure the surface is cleaned and changed often.

Check for sores. Regularly check your dog’s skin for any signs of pressure sores, such as red or dark discolored areas of skin. If you notice any sores, seek veterinary attention immediately.

Consider a dog bed. Invest in a quality orthopedic bed for your dog, as it helps to provide the necessary support and comfort for dogs that have arthritis, hip dysplasia or any other bone or joint conditions.

Keep them clean. Keep your dog clean, groomed and well-fed, as a healthy dog will have a better chance of healing quickly if they do develop a pressure sore.

Symptoms of pressure sores and hygromas in dogs

Pressure sores, also known as bedsores, and hygromas are both conditions that can develop in dogs that are unable to move around freely due to an illness or injury or are confined to one spot for long periods of time, such as in a kennel or crate. Here are some common symptoms of pressure sores and hygromas in dogs.

Discolored skin. Pressure sores typically appear as red or dark discolored areas of skin. As the sore becomes more severe, the area may become darker or develop a purplish hue.

Open wounds. As the pressure sore progresses, it may develop into an open wound, which may appear as a shallow ulcer or a deep crater.

Swelling. Hygromas are usually accompanied by a noticeable swelling or lump, usually around the joint area, such as the elbows or hocks.

Pain. Dogs with pressure sores or hygromas may be more sensitive to touch and may show signs of pain or discomfort when the affected area is touched or pressed.

Loss of hair. Loss of hair around the affected area is a common symptom.

Odor. As the sore progresses, the area may emit an unpleasant odor.

Changes in behavior. Dogs with pressure sores or hygromas may become less active and more lethargic, or may show signs of agitation or restlessness.

It’s important to seek veterinary attention if you suspect your dog is suffering from pressure sores or hygromas, since they can be painful and can lead to serious complications such as infection. The veterinarian will be able to diagnose the condition, provide appropriate treatment, such as cleaning and bandaging the sores, administering antibiotics or even hospitalizing your pet to manage pain, prevent infection or dress wounds and provide recommendations for preventing the recurrence of the condition.

How pressure sores are treated

Treatment for pressure sores in dogs will depend on the severity of the sore, but may include the following:

Cleaning the sore. The first step in treating a pressure sore is to clean the affected area. This may involve gently washing the area with a mild antiseptic solution and removing any debris or dead tissue.

Medication. Your veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics or other medications to help prevent infection and promote healing.

Bandaging. The sore may be covered with a bandage to protect it from further damage and to keep it clean. The bandage may need to be changed regularly to prevent infection.

Pain management. Pain management is important in dogs with pressure sores. Your veterinarian may prescribe pain medication to keep your dog comfortable during the healing process.

Surgeries. In some cases, surgical intervention may be necessary to remove dead tissue or to close an open wound.

Physical therapy. Depending on the severity of the pressure sore, your veterinarian may recommend physical therapy to help your dog regain strength and mobility.

Changing positions and support surface. During the healing process it is important to change your dog’s position frequently to redistribute pressure and avoid putting too much pressure on the healing sore. It’s also important to use a supportive surface, such as a foam pad or sheepskin to help cushion the affected area.

Follow-up. Your dog will need to be checked by the veterinarian for follow-up care and to monitor the healing process and make sure that the pressure sore does not return.

It’s important to note that healing time can vary depending on the size and depth of the pressure sore and the overall health of your dog.


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In Conclusion

Pressure sores are a common issue among dogs that are unable to move around freely, such as those recovering from an injury or illness or those that are confined to one spot for long periods of time. Preventing pressure sores is important to keep your dog comfortable, as well as to prevent them from getting infected. If you suspect your dog is suffering from a pressure sore, it is important to seek veterinary attention as soon as possible.

About the Author
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Brett Gee

Brett Gee is a marketing and advertising professional who has been working in advertising messaging, copy writing and content development for the better part of his 30+ year career. His experience spans across a variety of industries, markets and channels. Among his personal and professional interests is, of course, pets and animals. Aside from his wife and three grown children, his family members have included dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, gerbils, hamsters, rats, fish, turtles—and yes, even a horse.... Learn More

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