How to Treat Dog Scratch: Expert Tips & Tricks

Many dog owners have experienced scratch and bite injuries from their furry friends. Dogs can scratch you out of excitement, fear, or aggression. These scratches can range from minor scratches to deep, painful wounds that require immediate medical attention. If you are dealing with a minor scratch or a shallow wound, you can take care of it at home with a few simple techniques.

Why Do Dogs Scratch?

Dogs can scratch for various reasons, including:

  • Excitement- Dogs tend to get very excited, and their claws can scratch you while jumping or sprinting.
  • Fear- When frightened, dogs may lash out by scratching anything in their way, including their owners.
  • Aggression- Aggressive dogs can scratch and bite to defend their territories from perceived threats.
  • Itching- Dogs may scratch themselves if they have skin conditions or allergies that result in itching.

Understanding why your dog scratches can help you take the necessary precautions to prevent further injuries.

What to Do When a Dog Scratches You?

It is essential to take proper care of minor scratches to prevent infections. Here are simple steps to take when a dog scratches you:

  1. Clean the Wound: Wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and warm water. This removes dirt, germs, and bacteria, minimizing the risk of infection.
  2. Apply Pressure: If the wound is bleeding, apply pressure to the area using a clean towel. This stops the bleeding while you seek medical attention.
  3. Apply an Antiseptic: After washing the wound, apply an antiseptic to prevent infections. You can use hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol, which disinfects the area.
  4. Cover the Wound: Cover the wound with a sterile bandage to protect it from bacteria and germs. Change the bandage daily to allow the wound to heal quicker.

When to Seek Medical Attention?

While minor scratches can be treated at home, severe wounds require immediate medical attention. You should seek medical attention if:

  • The wound is deep and the bleeding does not stop despite applying pressure.
  • The wound is red, swollen, or painful, indicating an infection.
  • The wound was caused by a bite from an unknown dog, as this can lead to diseases such as rabies.
  • You have a weakened immune system that makes you prone to infections.

How to Prevent Dog Scratches?

Preventing dog scratches is imperative and can be ensured through:

  • Training Your Dog: Proper dog training can help prevent aggressive behavior, reducing the risk of scratches.
  • Supervision: Maintain constant supervision when around dogs to prevent scratches from surprise movements or excited behaviors.
  • Trimming Your Dog’s Nails: Long nails can scratch you during playtime or while cuddling. Keep your dog’s nails trimmed regularly with special pet nail clippers.
  • Creating Safe Spaces: Provide your dog with designated safe spaces like crates or kennels so that they do not lash out when scared or overwhelmed.
  • Cautious Behavior: Avoid sudden movements or aggressive behaviors around dogs, as this can trigger an attack.

Are Dog Scratches Dangerous?

While most dog scratches and bites are not severe, they can lead to complications such as:

  • Tetanus- Tetanus is a bacterial infection caused by a deeper wound. The germs enter your body through the break in the skin resulting from the scratch.
  • Infection- Dog scratches can become infected, leading to painful and swollen wounds.
  • Rabies- Dog-induced wounds like scratches and bites can transmit rabies, a viral disease that can be fatal to humans.

It is crucial to treat dog scratches promptly to prevent such complications.

Home Remedies to Soothe Dog Scratches

There are several home remedies that can help soothe dog scratches naturally. Here are some examples:

  • Aloe Vera: Apply aloe vera gel to the scratch to help speed up healing and reduce redness and swelling.
  • Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is anti-inflammatory and can help reduce inflammation and itchiness.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Apply apple cider vinegar to the scratch to help neutralize any bacteria in the wound.
  • Baking Soda: Mix baking soda and water to create a paste that can help reduce inflammation and itching in the wound.


While dog scratches can be painful, they are usually not severe and can be treated at home. Taking proper care of the wound and keeping it clean can prevent further infections. If the wound is deep or shows signs of an infection, seek medical attention immediately.

FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can dogs transmit diseases through scratches?

A: Yes, dog scratches and bites can transmit diseases like rabies, tetanus, and other bacterial infections.

Q: How can I tell if my dog has an itch or skin condition?

A: Your dog may scratch themselves more often, have changes in their skin color or texture, and develop rashes or bumps on their skin.

Q: Can I use essential oils to soothe dog scratches?

A: You should avoid using essential oils on your dog’s scratches without consulting with your vet. Some oils can be toxic to dogs if ingested or applied directly to their skin.

Q: Can I take an over-the-counter pain reliever for a dog scratch?

A: You can take over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help ease the pain if the wound is severe or deep. However, if you have any underlying medical conditions or taking other medications, consult with your doctor before taking any pain relievers.

Q: How long do dog scratches take to heal?

A: Minor scratches usually take up to 7 days to heal, while deeper or infected wounds can take longer. The healing time may vary based on your immune system, your dog’s hygiene, and overall health.

Q: Do all dogs scratch?

A: Yes, scratching is a normal behavior for dogs. Dogs scratch to relieve itchiness or when they are excited or stressed. Scratching becomes an issue when dogs exhibit aggressive behavior that leads to scratches or bites.





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