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Published: Mar 15, 2012

Even if your dog is calm and collected, another dog may bring out their aggressive tendencies.  Dog fights are fairly common occurrences and may result in wounds or other issues that require immediate treatment. VCA Animal Hospitals recommends that pet owners bring their dog to the veterinarian immediately if their dog has been in a fight.  If an actual dog fight was not witnessed but the animal has open wounds or if the dog is limping, crying or whining, an owner should seek medical attention.

The most common results of a fight with another dog are bite wounds. Bites can be a very serious problem if left untreated and can cause significant damage to a dog's skin and tissue. Apart from the immediate physical damage from the actual bite, open bite wounds have a high chance of getting infected and should be treated by a veterinarian immediately to avoid complications.

Immediate medical attention is important to ensure a full recovery from dog bite wounds. Wounds that are treated within the first six hours have a good chance of healing with no major issues. A veterinarian will perform a very thorough cleaning of the wound and will usually prescribe an antibiotic to prevent infection.  Pain medications or sedatives may also be prescribed for your dog if needed.  A pet owner will be given specific instructions on how to care for open wounds in their dog.

Once the dog is home, it will be the owner’s duty to keep the wound clean and dry and follow any instructions on bandage care. Some dogs are known to bite at their wound dressings out of pain or fear, so it may be necessary to put the dog in an Elizabethan (lampshade-style) collar until the wound heals.  It is important to schedule follow-up appointments with your veterinarian so they can monitor the progress of the wound healing to avoid more serious complications.