Other health problems

Stop your Dog from Scratching a Wound

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: June 19, 2018
Stop your Dog from Scratching a Wound

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Do you share your home with a dog? Then you've probably already noticed how complicated it can be for your pet to stay completely healthy, since our furry friends are susceptible to numerous conditions, just like us.

It is important that the owner has a basic knowledge about first aid for dogs. However, you should know that this is intended to provide a quick and urgent intervention, not to replace veterinary care. It is as important for your dog to go to the vet whenever necessary, just as it is to provide them with suitable care at home.

If your dog has ever suffered a topical injury, you've most likely wondered: "How can I stop my dog from scratching a wound?" In this AnimalWised article we will show you how.

You may also be interested in: My Puppy Keeps Scratching and Itching
  1. Why should you prevent your dog from scratching or licking a wound?
  2. Elizabethan collar
  3. Bandages
  4. Wound protection

Why should you prevent your dog from scratching or licking a wound?

Suffering from an annoying mosquito bite will surely have you tirelessly scratching it, and you may even cause a small wound. Even though scratching a wound or injury causes discomfort and pain, it is an instinctive act in all living beings, especially in pets, who obviously follow their instincts a lot more than we do.

The main problem is that this instinctive act is very counterproductive for the wound to properly heal. Furthermore, excessive licking and scratching causes the release of chemicals that are pleasing to your dog, turning this bad habit into a vicious circle. This same lick-reward-lick mechanism is a causative factor of lick granuloma.

Stop your Dog from Scratching a Wound - Why should you prevent your dog from scratching or licking a wound?

Elizabethan collar

The Elizabethan collar, also known as the cone of shame or pet lamp-shade, is used by vets all over the world, especially after surgery, in order to prevent the dog from prematurely removing surgical stitches.

It is a highly stressful plastic device for dogs, as it deprives them of adequate vision and reduces their control of the environment around them. A dog wearing an Elizabethan collar can show the following behavior:

  • Colliding with everyday objects
  • Not wanting to walk
  • Growling and showing its teeth if someone approaches
  • Not being able to eat or drink water

While the use of this collar is not at all nice for your dog, sometimes it is the best option, especially when there is a post-surgical wound.

You can make this experience more bearable: avoid startling your dog as you approach, talk to it before so it knows you are approaching, stand in front of it to encourage it to walk, remove furniture that now pose an obstacle to your pet and raise its food and water bowls so it can feed without difficulty.

Stop your Dog from Scratching a Wound - Elizabethan collar


Wearing a bandage acts as a tool to prevent your dog from scratching and licking a wound; of course, this depends on the type of wound, the type of bandage and your dog's behavior. Let's look at these factors in more detail:

  • Wounds: Not all wounds can be bandaged. Generally, wounds after surgery are already bandaged prior to the animal's discharge, but other, milder wounds such as scratches or cuts can benefit from contact with the air.
  • Bandages: A light bandage cannot stop the harmful effects of scratching and licking a wound. This requires a thicker, tighter bandage, which obviously must be approved by a vet.
  • Behavior: A strong craving to scratch and lick the wound may ruin even the most complex bandaging; always encourage your dog to be calm. Keeping an eye on your dog is crucial in deciding on one method or another.
Stop your Dog from Scratching a Wound - Bandages

Wound protection

To protect the most minor injuries this can be an excellent, yet comfortable, option for your pet. There are spray products or lotions that create a protective film over the wound and therefore allow proper healing.

They are available in pharmacies, but it is very important to get a product suitable for veterinary use, so the best option is to buy one at a specialized pet shop.

Stop your Dog from Scratching a Wound - Wound protection

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Stop your Dog from Scratching a Wound, we recommend you visit our Other health problems category.

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Dog has been scratching just below his chin by the neck area and it is red raw what would be the best course of action
Megan Fujawa
My dog has had a cut on her face (I think by her scratching her ear) for almost a month now. We have had a cone of shame on her since she got it, but as soon as it heals and we take the cone off, she opens it, or a similar cut on her face again. We are treating her ears and the rest of her for itching, and she has been to the vet. We have also tried Sox on her feet as soon as we take off the cone. HELP!!!
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Megan,

Do you know the underlying reason why she is scratching at her face? Has she been treated for anything?
Marlene Harrietha
My three yr old Yorkie, Daisy has a wound between her eyes, maybe up a little higher. She’s always been a dog who chewed on her paws, obsessively, hates in the car, never played like a normal puppy, always chewed on me. Recently she bit me and we brought a puppy a Shorkie into our home, she is not adjusting to the pup 8 mts old, will attack her for no reason, and the Shorkie won’t eat unless Daisy is eating, I didn’t even realize this for a long time. Daisy is so so jealous of the pup I’m not sure she will ever adjust to her. She scratches that area all the time, I’m not sure what a vet can do for me, she would have to have a collar on all the time. I hope you can help me, we love both of our dogs very much, and I know she will not stop scratching. I was hoping that she could heal this herself because I had a cat that was terrified of a car and had a wound and she did get it healed by herself. Please, please try to give me some answers on what to do, I love but I think in this situation she would bite me again. Thank you so much, I appreciate anything that you can suggest

Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Marlene
We suggest the best option for you would be to consult a canine specialist and dog trainer. A trainer will be able to analyse your specific situation and help socialize Daisy correctly. If you have anymore questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. In addition, we recommend taking a look at our article on; Why Has My Dog’s Personality Changed for more information and tips.


Goodluck! AnimalWised

Marlene Harrietha
Thank you so much for the information you gave me. I took Daisy to my groomer and she shaved around the area where the wound was, it was infected, I immediately took her to the vet, got meds and they want her to wear a cone for 2 weeks, at least 1. I’m not sure how this is going to affect her but I know it’s necessary. Thanks again for your help, I will continue to read the suggested articles. 😊
I have a bichon shes nine years old and was spade almost three years ago. Her vagina is black and it drives her nuts off and on around the clock. She's been to her vet she gave her steroid pills and said to try an anti itch cream. I told her i had been using a washcloth or baby wipes to clean the area fist then i was using monastat cream. But sadly none of this has worked. She has a five year old daughter. Who's fur around her vajay jay gets brownish from time to time. This has been going on a couple of months now. What about aloe vera can i wipe that all over her cooter? The outside is black and when you spread her lips open its so red. Please help me
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Gerri,

Sorry to hear your pet is having such an uncomfortable time of it. Your vet will be best able to provide advice on the matter and anything we add would just be a suggestion. We will say that if it doesn't seem to be getting better, does she have access to the area? If she has access to it, then maybe it is unable to settle because she is agitating it. Perhaps you can stop her by using a collar until the steroids do their job?
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Stop your Dog from Scratching a Wound