How to Treat Pressure Necrosis in Dogs: A Comprehensive Guide

Pressure sores, also known as pressure ulcers or decubitus ulcers, can cause distress to both dogs and their owners. These wounds develop due to prolonged pressure on a specific area of a dog’s body, which reduces blood flow and can lead to tissue damage. This comprehensive guide will delve into every aspect of how to treat pressure necrosis in dogs, from understanding the condition to providing adequate care for your beloved pet’s recovery.

Table of Contents

Understanding Pressure Necrosis in Dogs:

What Are Pressure Sores?

Pressure necrosis, also called pressure sores, is when skin and tissues get hurt from too much pressure. Pressure stops blood supply, so skin and tissues die, and sores form. This happens on bony parts without much cushioning. These sores hurt, feel bad, and can get infected if not treated. Dogs get these sores if they stay too long on hard surfaces or can’t move around.
Pressure necrosis starts as redness and can get worse, even breaking the skin. How bad it gets depends on how long the pressure is and the dog’s health. Treat pressure necrosis in dogs fast is important. Watch and care for them, and find out why they happen. This helps make dogs feel better.

Causes of Pressure Necrosis

Dogs can get pressure sores because of different reasons that make them stay in one place for too long. These reasons can stop blood flow and hurt their skin. Knowing these reasons helps pet owners take care of and prevent pressure sores on dogs. Here are some causes:
Not Moving:

Dogs that don’t move for a long time can get pressure sores because blood can’t reach some parts.

Bad Bedding:
Hard or uneven beds can hurt dogs’ skin and make sores.
Too Heavy:
If dogs are overweight, their heavy bodies can hurt their bones and skin.
Old Age:
Older dogs might not move a lot, making them more likely to get pressure sores.
Health Issues:
 Dogs with problems with their nerves or movement can easily get pressure sores.
Rubbing and Moving:
 Skin rubbing or moving one way while muscles move another can hurt the skin and cause sores.
Bad Blood Flow: 
Dogs with heart problems have weak blood flow, hurting their skin tissue from pressure.
Not Enough Water and Food: 
Dogs need good food and water for healthy skin. Without them, they get pressure sores.
Bone Problems: 
Dogs with bone issues might not want to move due to pain, so they get pressure sores.
Things on Them: 
Items like dog collars or gear can hurt dogs’ skin and make pressure sores.
By understanding these reasons, pet owners can help prevent pressure sores. Changing the dog’s position, giving them a good bed, keeping them healthy, and helping them move can stop pressure sores.

High-Risk Dogs

Certain dogs are more prone to developing pressure sores. Larger breeds and dogs with limited mobility due to age, injury, or illness are at higher risk.

Identifying Pressure Necrosis

Visual Examination

Regularly inspect your dog’s body for any signs of pressure sores. Look for redness, swelling, or hair loss in areas susceptible to excessive pressure, such as elbows, hips, and hocks.

Common Affected Areas

Pressure sores often occur over bony prominences like elbows, hips, and heels. These areas are more susceptible due to the limited cushioning of soft tissues.

Signs of Infection

Look for signs of infection, including increased redness, discharge, foul odor, and fever. Seek veterinarian assistance if you spot any of these symptoms.

Initial Care and Cleaning to treat Pressure Necrosis

Gather Necessary Supplies

Before you treat pressure necrosis, gather supplies such as clean towels, mild soap, sterile saline solution, antiseptic ointment, and non-stick dressings. How to Treat Pressure Necrosis in Dogs.

Cleaning the Wound

Gently clean the sore using mild soap and warm water. Use a fresh towel to pat the area dry.

Applying Antiseptic

Apply a veterinarian-approved antiseptic to the wound to prevent infection. Follow your vet’s guidance on which antiseptic to use.

Pain Management and Discomfort

Administering Pain Relief

Consult your veterinarian for appropriate pain relief options to keep your dog comfortable during healing.

E-Collars and Preventing Licking

Consider using an Elizabethan collar (E-collar) or a medical garment to prevent your dog from licking or biting the sore.

Providing Comfortable Bedding

Offer your dog a soft, supportive bed to relieve pressure on affected areas. This can aid in the healing process.

Promoting Healing

Ensuring Proper Nutrition

A balanced diet rich in nutrients, especially protein, supports tissue repair and enhances healing.

Hydration and Skin Health

Proper hydration helps keep the skin healthy and promotes faster healing. Make sure your dog always has access to fresh water.

Veterinary Recommendations

Follow your veterinarian’s recommendations for wound care and treatment. They can offer recommendations that are specifically dependent on the condition of your dog. How to Treat Pressure Necrosis in Dogs.

Medical Interventions

Antibiotics and Infection Prevention

If there’s a risk of infection, your vet may prescribe antibiotics. Administer them as directed to prevent complications.

Topical Ointments

Veterinarian-approved topical ointments can aid in wound healing and prevent infection. Apply as directed by your veterinarian.

Advanced Wound Care

Advanced wound care techniques such as bandaging, debridement, or even surgery might be necessary in severe cases.

Prevention Tips

Provide Comfortable Bedding

Offer your dog a soft and well-padded bed. Avoid hard surfaces that can contribute to pressure sores.

Regular Repositioning

If your dog has limited mobility, ensure you change their position regularly. This prevents prolonged pressure on one area.

Weight Management

Maintain a healthy weight for your dog. Excess weight can exacerbate pressure necrosis by adding more stress to certain areas.


A balanced diet rich in essential nutrients promotes overall health, which aids in preventing and healing pressure sores.

When to Consult a Veterinarian

Worsening Symptoms of Pressure

If the pressure sore worsens or fails to heal, consult your veterinarian promptly.

Delayed Healing

If you don’t observe improvement in the sore’s condition over time, seek professional advice.

Signs of Infection

If the sore becomes red, swollen, warm, or emits a foul odor, it may be infected and requires immediate veterinary attention.

Caring for Special Cases

Elderly Dogs

Elderly dogs may require extra care and patience during the healing process. Monitor them closely and make necessary adjustments to their care routine.

Immobilized Dogs

Dogs with limited mobility require vigilant monitoring and specialized care to prevent pressure sores.

Underlying Health Conditions

Address any underlying health issues that could impede the healing process. To manage these issues, work closely with your veterinarian.

Monitoring and Follow-Up

Keeping a Watchful Eye

Continuously monitor your dog’s pressure sores and overall health. Early detection and intervention are essential to successful treatment.

Follow-Up Veterinary Visits

Schedule regular follow-up visits with your veterinarian to assess the progress of the healing process.

Adjustments to Care Plan

Based on your veterinarian’s recommendations, make necessary adjustments to your dog’s care plan to optimize its healing journey.

Importance of Patience

Healing Takes Time

Understand that healing pressure sores are a gradual process. Be patient and provide consistent care.

Celebrating Small Improvements

Acknowledge and celebrate the minor improvements in your dog’s condition. Each step toward healing is significant.

Being Attentive to Your Dog’s Needs

Keep a close eye on your dog’s behavior and level of comfort. Adjust care as needed to accommodate their needs.

Maintaining Good Hygiene to Treat Pressure Necrosis

Regular Grooming

Keep your dog’s fur clean and well-groomed to prevent dirt and debris from entering the wound.

Clean and Dry Living Space

Ensure your dog’s living space is clean, dry, and free from potential irritants that could hinder healing.

Avoiding Irritants

Prevent your dog from lying on rough surfaces or materials that could further irritate the pressure sore.

Supporting Emotional Well-being

Comfort and Reassurance

Provide your dog with comfort and reassurance through gentle interactions and soothing words.

Reducing Stress

Minimize stressors that could negatively impact your dog’s well-being and slow the healing process.

Mental Stimulation

Engage your dog’s mind with interactive toys and activities to prevent boredom and promote mental stimulation.

Lifestyle Changes

Preventing Recurrence

Implement preventive measures to avoid future pressure sores. Regularly assess your dog’s environment and make necessary changes.

Exercise and Mobility

Encourage gentle exercise to improve your dog’s mobility and overall well-being.

Balanced Routine

Establish a balanced routine that includes regular exercise, playtime, grooming, and rest.


Pressure sores can be distressing, but they can heal effectively with dedicated care. Remember that each dog’s situation is unique, so tailor your approach to your pet’s needs. Following the steps outlined in this guide, you can provide the best possible care for your furry companion, ensuring their comfort and well-being.


Are pressure sores common in all dog breeds?

Pressure sores can affect any breed, but larger or immobile dogs are often at higher risk.

Can I use human pressure sore creams on my dog?

It's recommended to use products specifically designed for dogs, as human creams may contain ingredients harmful to pets.

Will my dog need stitches for a pressure sore?

Stitching isn't usually necessary unless the sore is severe or prone to infection.

Is it safe to clean the sore with hydrogen peroxide?

Hydrogen peroxide can delay wound healing, so it's better to stick to veterinarian-recommended wound cleaners.

How long does it take for a pressure sore to heal completely?

Healing time varies, but it can take weeks to months; consistent care speeds up the process.

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