Prolonged immobility in dogs can lead to pressure sores, which pose a significant health risk similar to bed sores in humans. The leading cause of pressure ulcers in pets is excessive pressure on the bony part.

Can dogs get bed sores? YES, Dog bed sores are similar to pressure sores in humans, and it is usually caused by lying in the same position for too long or repeated trauma.

pressure sores in dogs

Causes of Bed sores on Dogs

Depending on their age and level of disability, dogs may lie still for considerable periods without the benefit of the muscular protection provided by their muscles. Consequently, ulcers and sores may develop.

A loss of sensation in the limbs can cause sores, and pets with weakened muscles may have difficulty sitting and lying gently or falling heavily to the ground. A particular body part may be repeatedly traumatized, like the elbow.

Most dog pressure sores are shallow wounds that only affect the upper skin layers. A decubital ulcer occurs when the blood vessels constrict when repeated pressure is applied to the affected area. This reduces the flow of blood and prevents oxygen from reaching the skin.

Dogs of any breed can get ulcers and pressure wounds at any age.

Symptoms of Pressure sores on dogs

There’s a good chance bed sores will be visible to the naked eye. This is because they’ll occur on the boniest parts of the dog, like the hips, elbows, hocks, knees, chests, or sides. Pressure sores have a lot of causes and effects, but they’re tough to fix.

The following symptoms should be noted:

  • Staining of the hair at the site of a wound
  • Discoloration of the skin
  • Patchy hair loss
  • A reddish or thickened patch of skin
  • Fluid-filled bones on your dog
  • Open wounds, abscesses, or ulcers
  • Licking the affected area constantly

You must seek immediate medical attention from a veterinarian if the wound is red or purple, if pus is oozing, or if it smells like blood. You should seek immediate medical attention when your dog exhibits any of these symptoms.

Early Stages of Bedsores on Dogs

The condition is at its mildest stage at the moment among the dog pressure sore stages. Knowing that these pressure sores don’t hurt the skin below the surface is helpful.

Symptoms and Pictures:

Most of the time, itch, burning, and pain are the symptoms. You should keep an eye on your dog’s discolored spots. If they feel firmer, softer, warmer, or more relaxed, you should monitor them carefully. The spot doesn’t lighten up no matter how hard or how long you press on it.

stage1 bedsores on dogs
stage1 pressuresores on dogs

Treatment and Duration of recovery:

In most cases, the early stages of pressure sore on dogs tend to heal within two to three days.

Now, the earliest symptoms of bedsores in dogs often go undetected. As such, the wound takes on a more serious rather angry look. There is a formation of a deep sore beneath the surface of the skin in this case. Additionally, you might also notice a pus-filled break in the skin, an open wound, or a blister. The bedsores may be swollen, warm, or red in the affected area. It may be filled with clear fluid or pus. Moreover, it may be painful.

In such cases you can do the following:

  • Under medical supervision, you might administer a pain reliever before cleaning the wound. Consult your veterinarian if you have any questions about whether this is a safe practice.
  • Covering the sore with a see-through dressing or moist gauze is the best practice. Contact the veterinarian practitioner immediately if you notice pus, fever, or swelling.

Treating Pressure sores in Early Stages:

  • The first step to treating sores is to prevent the pressure. When your dog is uncomfortable in its current position, use foam pads, pillows, or mattresses (Check below) to make them comfortable.
  • You should move your dog every two hours. If he’s seated, moving him every 15 minutes is advisable.
  • The sore should be cleaned with soap and water and allowed to dry naturally.
  • Be sure to keep your dog hydrated and provide nourishment with plenty of protein, vitamins B and C, and iron and zinc.

Pressure ulcers can be difficult to treat and can become chronic diseases that require long-term ongoing care.

For the finest level of comfort during the early stages of bedsores, you can check out the following products for your fur baby:

#1) Best Friends by Sheri The Original Calming Donut Cat and Dog Bed

Featuring a wide range of colors, this calming bed is available in multiple sizes and can be fitted to any breed of dog. These pillow beds feature donut shapes and faux shag for a luxurious sleeping experience. Your dog will no longer want to climb into your bed once he has his own. This calming bed features a dirt- and water-resistant bottom so that messes can be kept off your floors.

Benefits:

  • Improves Sleep – The Donut Cuddler has a round shape, which makes it perfect for pets who like to curl up! The fluffy dog bed relieves joint, and muscle aches with its raised rim and super-soft filling.
  • Comfortable – The plush dog bed features soft, cozy shag fur and a self-warming design, just like a mother’s fur coat! This is combined with deep crevices to ensure that animals receive a good night’s sleep.
  • Convenient Design – The fur dog beds are available in various colors to match any decor, including taupe, frost, dark chocolate brown, and cotton candy pink. The bottoms of these beds are water and dirt-resistant.
  • Pet-Friendly Materials – This durable vegan polyester dog bed features AirLoft fibers. It has a premium white poly filling, which gives it 3X the loft of most standard fluffy beds.

#2 Bedsure Orthopedic Dog Bed

Bedsure’s waterproof orthopedic bed is a smart option if your senior dog leaks urine occasionally. Its standard rectangle shape can go in a crate if you want, and it comes in medium and extra-large sizes. It’s got a waterproof inner liner that keeps the memory foam clean. It is easy to clean this orthopedic dog bed since the cover comes off. With a memory foam interior and a machine-washable cover, it’s perfect for relaxing.

Benefits:

  • Comfortable foam crate: Featuring a 3″ high-density egg-crate foam core that evenly distributes weight, this dog bed offers maximum comfort and support for your pet.
  • Sofa-style bed: This 3.5″ bolstered side pillow is designed with three sides to provide additional neck and head support to your pet as they sleep.
  • The coziest spot: The 35″x25″ sleep surface is covered with a flannel cover, making it a peaceful and comfortable sleeping environment for dogs and cats.
  • Anti-skid bottom: With its non-slip, studded plastic bottom, your dog’s bed can be firmly fixed, preventing him from sliding.
  • Easy-to-maintain – This product features a removable cover with a zip closure. The body is made of TPU, which is durable and provides protection against dog poop.

#3 Furhaven Orthopedic, Cooling Gel, and Memory Foam Pet Beds

This Furhaven Orthopedic Bed will pamper your pet like no other. The sleep surface is covered in luxurious faux fur, while the bolsters and gussets are covered in suede. With the two-toned design, it’s hard to hide pet dander and dirt, but you can nest your pet on these L-shaped bolsters. The raised, rounded edges of the bolsters make it easy to align your pet’s spine and neck.

Benefits:

  • Pet-Friendly design: Featuring an L-shaped corner sofa design with high-loft orthopedic cushions, dogs and cats will love nesting and burrowing in this comfy lounger.
  • Support Surface: With plush faux fur enclosing the main sleep surface and easy-care suede covering the supportive bolsters, this bed is packed with cuddles.
  • Consistent on Joints – These fluff-filled bolster railings cushion pressure points and improve air circulation, enabling restful sleep for the neck, back, hips, and joints.
  • Advanced Care: You can machine wash dog bed covers. Ensure you follow the washing instructions on the hang tag and/or seam label.

Late Stages: When to see a doctor?

The later stages of dog pressure sores demand quick medical attention. In the most unfortunate cases, if the sores are left untreated, you can see them penetrating the fat tissue beneath the second layer of skin. This is the most severe type of sore. Some of these sores may result in muscle and ligament pain.

Symptoms:

An infected sore is characterized by large, deep sores that resemble craters. They can even smell foul. It may exhibit signs of infection, including red edges, pus, smell, heat, and/or drainage. The sore will be surrounded or contain black tissue if it has died. The skin appears black, with pus, odor, heat, drainage, and signs of infection. Muscles, tendons, and bones may be visible within the sore.

Here is what you should do:

If you think that your dog’s bedsores are in an advanced stage, you must seek medical attention and consult your veterinarian. It can be highly likely that the doctor recommends that these wounds need to be operated upon as soon as possible to remove dead tissue and prescribe antibiotics to prevent infection.

Duration of recovery:

In later stages, bedsores in dogs can take at least one month to heal, and they may take up to four months to heal completely and disappear. In many cases, the dog pressure sores may not heal for more than three months, and sometimes they take several years to be cured completely.

 Treatment Guide

A pressure ulcer causes more than just pain and disfigurement; it can also become chronic and extremely costly to treat. Untreated, they may pose a life-threatening threat. If you have an open wound, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible and treat it carefully.

  • Assistive care at home – The best thing to do for dogs with stage 1 ulcers is to sleep on a quality, moisture-wicking bed to provide padding and to reposition them frequently. Pet parents should apply moist dressings to open pressure sores regularly. Pet parents need to reposition their dogs regularly or change their beds (for incontinent dogs) if they don’t treat ulcers at home.
  • Antibiotics – Antibiotics may be necessary if the wound becomes infected or is at risk of becoming infected. A high success rate and minimal risks are associated with antibiotics when used during the early stages of an infection. Bacterial infection caused by broad-spectrum antibiotics can happen one of two ways: either they’re damaged, or they’re not able to reproduce. Antibiotics typically have mild side effects. You still have to be careful with antibiotics since overuse can cause antibiotic-resistant infections harder to treat.
  • Debridement – There may be a need to debride the dog bedsores in advanced stages. Veterinary debridement usually involves both surgical and mechanical procedures. In surgical debridement, dead tissue is scraped away, and operative tools are used to promote healing. In mechanical debridement, you apply a dressing to the wound, wait for it to stick to it, and then take it off. A veterinarian takes off the dressing once the tissue is removed with the dressing. Veterinary surgeons prefer surgical debridement because healthy tissue is preserved and unhealthy tissue is carefully removed. However, there is a possibility of complications following debridement. Several risks are associated with debridement, including the destruction of healthy tissue, bacterial infection, and slowed wound healing.

Summary

If bedsores are discovered early on, they’ll heal within a few days with minimal discomfort or pain. Treatment is needed to keep them from getting infected. Healing starts when pink tissue appears on the sides and the sore shrinks.

If your dog is at risk for pressure sores, ensure your veterinarian coordinates their preventive plan. Your dog’s mobility, environment, pain level, and other factors can all be evaluated together. This will help you come up with an effective and practical plan to prevent or manage dog pressure sores ably.

Disclaimer: Content provided on this website is for information purposes only, and should not be treated as professional medical advice. In case of any health concerns, you should get in touch with a registered medical practitioner.