Veterinarian-written / veterinarian-approved articles for your dog.

Minor Dog Injuries and Illnesses and What to Do

Some common dog injuries and illnesses can be first treated at home.

Most dogs will experience a minor injury or illness at some point in their life. You will want to get your dog to the veterinarian right away when this happens, so the minor issue doesn't morph into a major one.

But you can be prepared to help your dog by keeping a few simple things on hand at home and knowing how to use them. Below are some common minor injuries and illnesses in dogs and how to treat them.

Nail Injuries

A broken or torn nail or one that is accidentally cut too short during a nail trim is a common injury in dogs. Often, the nail bleeds profusely. Here's what you can do:

  • Keep styptic powder on hand. Grab a pinch between your thumb and forefinger and press it into the end of your dog's nail for several minutes.
  • If the bleeding doesn't stop, add more without removing the powder you've already applied.
  • If you don't have styptic powder, you can use cornstarch or flour.
  • If the nail is only partially broken and hanging, your veterinarian will need to address it, cutting the remainder of the nail and treating as necessary.

Cuts and Scrapes

Minor cuts and scrapes can sometimes be treated effectively at home.

  • You may need to shave the area with some dog clippers to see it better or to keep your dog's fur from sticking to the wound. Do not use scissors; it is too easy to lacerate a dog's skin with them.
  • Next, flush the wound with warm water or sterile saline solution.
  • You will need to keep your dog from licking and chewing at the area. An E-collar is the best way to achieve this. Covering the wound with gauze and a light bandage of Vet Wrap may also work, but you must be sure not to wrap it too tightly. Some wounds may also fester and get worse when covered, so be sure to uncover it to check often.

Remember, don't give your dog any medications without checking with your veterinarian first. Some medications are toxic to dogs. Always call your veterinarian for advice if your dog is injured.

Bee Stings

If your dog is stung by a bee, you may never know it. If you do see it happen, though, you may be able to locate the stinger and remove it by scraping over it with the edge of a credit card.

If your dog's muzzle begins to swell, you will need to get him to the veterinarian right away because he is having a more serious allergic reaction to the sting. Bee stings can cause anaphylaxis and death in some dogs. Many vets will recommend giving some oral Benadryl first, so it's a good idea to call your vet before leaving and find out if you should give some and, if so, how much.

Keeping Benadryl in your medicine cabinet is a good idea for situations like this.


If your dog has diarrhea, you may wish to try the following:

  • Stop all treats, human food, and regular dog food.
  • Give a 50/50 mixture of boiled turkey and rice in place of his regular food until he's had normal stool again for 24 hours.
  • Walk him outside on a leash only so he doesn't ingest grass or anything else to further irritate his system.
  • Add 1 teaspoon per 10 pounds body weight of 100% pumpkin puree to the above bland diet.
  • Watch your dog carefully for further signs of illness such as decreased appetite or lethargy, and get him to the veterinarian if they occur.
  • Visit the veterinarian if the diarrhea lasts for more than 48 hours or anytime you become concerned about his condition.

More Serious Illnesses and Injuries

Dogs that suffer from more serious injuries or illnesses may need first aid at home before a veterinarian can become involved. You can learn more in this article as well as in the articles linked to within it: "First Aid for Dogs: An Overview."

You May Also Like These Articles:

General Tips for Keeping Your Dog Safe

You Have E-Mail; Your Dog Has P-Mail

Dr. Google: Helpful or Dangerous?

Slug and Snail Bait Poisoning in Dogs

Retractable Dog Leashes: Know the Risks

Car Sickness in Dogs

Mushroom Toxicity in Dogs

Xylitol Toxicity in Dogs

Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed veterinarian. If you require any veterinary related advice, contact your veterinarian promptly. Information at is exclusively of a general reference nature. Do not disregard veterinary advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information at this site. Just Answer is an external service not affiliated with

Notice: Ask-a-Vet is an affiliated service for those who wish to speak with a veterinary professional about their pet's specific condition. Initially, a bot will ask questions to determine the general nature of your concern. Then, you will be transferred to a human. There is a charge for the service if you choose to connect to a veterinarian. Ask-a-Vet is not manned by the staff or owners of, and the advice given should not delay or replace a visit to your veterinarian.