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Can You Put Hydrogen Peroxide on a Dog's Wound?

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Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.

Hydrogen peroxide does more harm than good in dogs.

Hydrogen peroxide does more harm than good in dogs.

Do Not Use Hydrogen Peroxide on Dogs

Hydrogen peroxide is a normal substance produced in our body in order to aid in healing any scratches or small wounds. (1) The hydrogen peroxide in our bodies, however, is in very tiny amounts. When your dog comes in with a wound, it is NOT okay to pour hydrogen peroxide on top of it because of the damage to the tissue underneath.

Tissue starts healing immediately, and hydrogen peroxide poured onto a wound keeps the cells from closing the wound properly.

Hydrogen Peroxide for Road Rash

There is one exception. Dogs with road rash (from being dragged on a road or after jumping out of a car) have extensive damage that is very dirty. The recommended therapy is flushing with sterile saline for several minutes, but these wounds are very dirty, and the tissue underneath is already gone.

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Hydrogen peroxide will kill the bacteria, and the flushing action will remove dirt from the wounds that will delay healing. In this type of injury, using hydrogen peroxide actually promotes faster healing. (2)

Chlorhexidine Antibacterial for Dogs

When it is a big wound that will not close anyway, the best therapy for a dog at this time is chlorhexidine, which kills bacteria without causing much damage to the cells. It has been used for over 50 years, and so far there are no resistant strains of bacteria. (3)

Sources

  1. van der Vliet A, Janssen-Heininger YM. Hydrogen peroxide as a damage signal in tissue injury and inflammation: murderer, mediator, or messenger? J Cell Biochem. 2014 Mar;115(3):427-35. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4363740/
  2. Rai S, Gupta TP, Shaki O, Kale A. Hydrogen Peroxide: Its Use in an Extensive Acute Wound to Promote Wound Granulation and Infection Control - Is it Better Than Normal Saline? Int J Low Extrem Wounds. 2021 Aug 2:15347346211032555. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34338578/
  3. Chlorhexidine facts.com, https://www.chlorhexidinefacts.com/resistance.html

This article is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from your veterinarian. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2022 Dr Mark

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