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Pets can very easily get burns. Typical examples could be you got a bonfire and a dog runs out over the ashes or gets burned directly from an open fire, maybe jumps up a cooker, get scalded by hot water. There are lots of different ways of animals getting burned. One typical one with cats can be where someone has got one of these stoves in their lounge. They put the stove in all summer, the cat jumps on it, sits on it, goes to sleep on it because it is nice and cool, being cast iron pulls all the heat out. And the cat comes in, over winter, you have lit it, jumps up there and burns all four paws. So, it does happen. And again, with burns on pets, it is different from burns on humans because the pet cannot tell you what is wrong, but also, they have hair, much more hair. So, if you have got some of these burns with direct naked flames, it is very easy for the hair to catch fire and very quickly, you can get a burn from a leg going straight up around the head and burning around the ears and around the respiratory system.

So, it will depend on quite a lot on where the burn is on the animal to how severe it is and how potentially life-threatening it is. Now, the other thing is if you got certain areas of burns around the mouth, the eyes, then this can be a big problem because not only you would have to deal with the burn, but also, they might be having trouble with actually breathing. The other thing can be if there is maybe a house fire or something like that, they have inhaled hot smoke. What this can do, is the same way as it happens with humans, they inhale it and actually burn into their respiratory tract which would cause swelling, restricts the airways, and also restricts the efficiency of it, and then that can cause some respiratory problems. If you do get into these environments, sometimes CPR is necessary. You hear quite a lot of stories about firemen bringing dogs or cats out of a burning home and then not breathing. This is where CPR can be really, really useful. Sometimes the fire service would also use supplementary oxygen as well just to be able to give better oxygen to the animal and hopefully revive it.

So, bringing that back a little bit just to dealing with burns on the first aid side. Number one, always, you must wear gloves when you are dealing with any burn. Now, we have not really spoken in other modules about getting wounds infected and things like that. But burns are really important that we do ensure that we have gloves on because we do not want to introduce any other bacteria over it. If the layers of skin have been removed, the body has got now no defence against infection. It depends on how many layers of the three key layers of the skin have burned, but it will be a major infection risk. Other things we can do, you could use standard cling film over a burn. What with that is, it gives it a plastic layer, but what you would never want to do is wrap it around the dog's leg, because with burns, it causes swelling. If you swell up and then it has got cling film on it, that can be a problem. Just apply it over in layers if you do have the burn. But the very first thing you want to do with any burn is cool it. This advice is the same for humans. A minimum of 20 minutes.

Now, a dog this size, if it has got a burn, it is in pain, you are going to have to try and get it out and hose it down. And some dogs just hate water, other dogs love it. But if you imagine it is an autumn day and you got the bonfire problem, then you got to also worry about cooling the dog down too much and then hypothermia can be a problem. So, try... If it is just one leg, try and just cool that down. And we say with running water but running water can be a bucket of water and a cup, and you just pour it over and the water goes back into the bucket. But then keep giving that fresh as well because you want to try and make sure that you keep it cool. Because eventually, that water is going to start warming up. But where possible, for smaller animals or even medium sized dogs, you might even pick them up, put them into the sink and clean water straight out the taps. They are not going to like it, but it is so important. You might have burned yourself on the cooker and you run your finger on the tap for 20 seconds or so, and then you walk back across the kitchen and it hurts again. That is because you have not fully cooled it. So, it is vital that we do cool these burns for the 20-minute period. Once we have done that, then we can put the cling film on or we can put on a burn dressing, which we will have a look at in a minute.

Some things you do not do, we do not want to put things like lard and butter. It is a bit of an old wife's tale from years and years ago. My grandmother always used to say about putting butter on a burn. The problem with putting butter on a burn is it will actually make things worse. So, no oils, no creams, no ointments. So, make sure you cool it and then you can look at putting on a burns dressing. The most important thing, if you got a dog with a bad burn, you must get it to the vet. But what we are doing now is trying to look at some products that we should put on to cool that burn and also leave on maybe while we are then transferring him to the vets. Now when the dogs or any animal has got a burn, then it is going to also have problems with infections, which is why we said earlier about using cling film. But there are also different dressings you can get, and this is a standard human type burns kit. In here, we got different things. We have a spray. With this, you can actually put the burns fluid straight over the burn and it will help to cool it. It's a very quick cooling action. We have also got sachets which have got a cooling gel in them. Smaller burns, you can just put these directly on the burn.

And then we have these, which are normal burns dressings. Now, a typical one with a pet may be a burn dressing like this. It is a foil dressing, and inside is a wet dressing. So, to start with running under cold water for a minimum of 20 minutes. But maybe you are out and about, and you need to put a burn dressing on, but you have not got access to water. This is where these are really good. To open them, there is a little nick there, so just tear that open. Once you have opened the dressing up, then you can just pull it out, and the dressing itself is wet and it is like a foam-type substance, so you can apply that directly over the burn. Do not just put it on the burn, but make sure it is big enough to go on the outside. If you got a very small burn, and the dressing is this size, you can also just fold it in half and then lay it over the burn. Now, just with this laying on my fingers now, I can feel it cold. It does pull it through. It is not actually cold, it is just the fact it is a wet dressing that is very, very good at drawing the heat out of the burn and cooling it.

Once you have cooled a burn, then also these sorts of dressing and also the cling film would help very well, as you keep the air away from it, and also you can be reducing pain. Burns are very, very painful, as you know yourself. But, something like this will also help reduce the pain. You just need to have a really good look around the burn, because you might see a very badly burnt area, and you may see that in different ways. You have superficial burns, which are just sort of red, partial-thickness burns which have got blisters on them, and full-thickness, which go straight through. And they are more of a black, a very dark red colour. You can obviously see it is very bad. You may also see on an animal, quite a large area where the hair is burnt but that has not actually damaged the skin. So, try and concentrate on where the burn actually is to put these dressings on.

So, these depict the size of them. We put links to all these products on the download area on the shop on our website. But finally, it is just worth mentioning, chemical burns. Now, chemicals can be poisonous to dogs and cats, however, they can also cause problems when they get onto their skin. So, make sure that you keep chemicals locked away. If you do find that an animal has got chemical on it for any reason, you need to wash it off. Make sure when you are washing it off, the chemical is going away from the animal.

So, for example, it has got chemicals on one side of its face, make sure that the runoff from when you are washing it does not get onto the other side of the face. And also, with chemicals, make sure that you are not getting the chemical anywhere near their mouth, and then they could lick the wound and things like that, and actually cause more problems. So, chemical burns are a problem. The only other type of burn that can be a problem with some breeds of dogs is actually sunburn. You would not think it, but some dogs can get sunburn if they have not got much hair on them.

So, number one, back to same as humans, is prevention is better than cure. But if you do have problems, then you can use these dressings or there are special ointments that you can actually put on dogs if they are prone to getting sunburn.