How do I treat fight wounds at home?
If your dog is involved in a fight, do not try to intervene with your hands as you risk getting bitten, or scratched. Instead, try to distract them or separate them, for example by soaking them in water using a bucket, or a hose pipe. For cats involved in a fight, gently introduce a sheet of cardboard or another large barrier between them, to split them up and then allow them to cool down.
After the fight your pet may be agitated, scared or in pain. Take great care when checking for injuries. If you can see an obvious wound, if your pet has difficulty walking or standing, is bleeding heavily, or is in shock, then seek advice from a vet immediately. In the meantime, keep your pet as quiet as possible. If you find a wound(s) that is more than 1 cm long or more than a few millimetres deep, if the wound is over a joint, or if the wound is contaminated with debris, a visit to your vet is needed. If the wound is bleeding heavily, it may be possible to wrap a bandage (see first aid kit above) around the affected area to stem the blood flow. Let the vet know that you are on your way, so that they can be ready when you arrive.
If your pet seems ok, check closely for small wounds or tiny puncture marks. These may be hidden under the fur and may only become apparent after a few days. Puncture wounds often become infected because bacteria become trapped under the skin, resulting in the formation of an abscess. This often leads to swelling, which can be very painful.
It may be possible to treat small wounds at home. Carefully trim the hair around a wound and wash it with copious saline solution; if necessary, use clean gauze to remove mild debris. If you notice that the area around the wound is swelling, or the wound is not healing, then seek advice from a vet.