Are Cuts and Abrasions an Emergency?

Minor wounds, cuts, and abrasions are the kind of scenario where common sense should rule.

You wouldn’t rush your kid to an emergency with a scraped knee, and you don’t need to do that with your dog either. But …


An abrasion is a wound caused by superficial damage to the skin …

Are Cuts and Abrasions an Emergency?

Abrasions further break down into three grades ranging from scrapes/grazes to avulsions. An avulsion refers to a surface trauma where all the layers of the skin have been torn away, exposing the underlying tissues. In other words, an abrasion can be a mild injury or a substantial trauma.

While superficial skin damage is not an emergency, skin ripped away and revealing muscles, tendons or bone would be.

Not because it is in itself life-threatening but being taken care of properly is imperative.

This would be particularly true if a dog suffered an avulsion as a result of falling off or out of the vehicle, or other, similar scenarios where further, more serious injuries are possible even though not readily apparent.

Always an emergency in the following cases

Jumping or falling out of a vehicle, being in a car accident, falling off heights, etc. are always an emergency regardless of how minor the injuries might look.

It should indeed be common sense to evaluate the injuries as you can see them as well as what led up to them.

I’d like to note that chronic injuries to feet and foot pads, while not an emergency, should be evaluated. Foot pads can suffer from chronic exposure to hard, abrasive, or hot surfaces, the tops of the feet might keep being injured from neurological deficits.

Cuts, lacerations, and puncture wounds

Similar distinctions need to be made when it comes to cuts, lacerations or puncture wounds.

  • how did the injury happen?
  • what is the amount of bleeding?
  • how deep is the wound?
  • could there be foreign matter left in the wound?

It is quite easy to underestimate how deep a cut might be.

There is also a limited window during which such a wound can be expertly sutured or glued. Many veterinarians recommend having all cuts seen and tended to.

It’s also important to keep in mind that the odds of such wound getting infected are high.

With cuts and abrasions, use good sense. It is better to overestimate the potential damage than the alternative.

Related articles:
Canine Wound Care 101: Classification, treatment, and physical therapy

Further reading:
How to Treat Dog Wounds at Home
Cuts and Bruises on Dogs

Categories: Cuts and abrasionsEmergenciesSymptoms

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Jana Rade

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience.

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