pet ear wounds

Pet First Aid Awareness Month – Ear Wounds

In cat first aid, Cats, dog daycare owner, dog walker, groomer, pet care professional, Pet First Aid, pet sitter, Uncategorized, Wound care by Cara Armour3 Comments

Ears Are Big Bleeders

Ears are big bleeders even when there is such a seemingly small wound. I have had the roof of my car blood splattered thanks to these floppy appendages – you would have thought someone got stabbed but it was just from a tiny Pug’s cut ear!

Ears are not only big bleeders because they have an abundance of capillaries supplying plenty of blood to them but you group that with the centripetal force of a dog or cat shaking their head – and you have a recipe for a red disaster!

I want to share with you some tips on what to do when the tip of your pet’s ear gets injured and seems to endlessly bleed.

How to Handle Ear Wounds


Histiocytoma – benign tumor on our dog’s ear but it required lots of tending and bandage changes. It bled A LOT!

First identify the wound and make certain it is not deep or may require stitches. If you are uncertain if the cut needs sutures, follow the instructions below and head to your vet. You will want to follow these guidelines to help prevent further discomfort and injury to your pet’s ear as well as a bloody mess!

  1. The most important thing is to remain calm and prevent your pet from thrashing around or shaking their head. Grab treats to rewards for sitting or laying down – whichever position makes tending to their ear easiest. A towel is handy especially for cats to wrap them in to prevent movement.
  2. Gather clean gauze squares and rolls if you have them. Also get styptic powder and an antiseptic such as saline, betadine or iodine. Rubbing alcohol can be used on small cuts, but generally should be avoided due to the pain it will cause when applied. If you do not have these or access to a first aid kit – paper towels or a clean cloth will do. Corn start or baby powder can substitute for styptic powder but DO NOT use baking soda or baking powder as these can cause infections. You will want to gather other material such as a sock or pantyhose if you do not have gauze rolls, medical tape or vet wrap to help keep the bandage and ear in place.
  3. Get, lure or corral them calmly into an area where they cannot easily run from you – ideally if you have 2 people one can hold while the other addresses the wound. The bathroom is your best option – its a room with a door and tends to have tile floor for easy cleanup.
  4. Locate the wound and clean with antiseptic, making certain to gently wipe away any dirt or debris that may have stuck to or gotten in the cut.
  5. Apply pressure for what seems like forever! Give at least a good minute to 2 minutes of solid pressure. Depending on the location of the injury – raise the ear and hold the wound between your thumb and fingers so you are elevating and applying pressure.
  6. Release slowly to see if the bleeding has stopped or slowed.
  7. Apply clean gauze sandwiched over the wound and bend the ear back to lay on the head. You can use a small piece of medical tape to hold in place before the next steps. The key is SMALL, taping hair/fur = ouch when it has to come off.
  8. Use rolled gauze, vet wrap, ace bandage, cut sock or cut piece of pantyhose to hold the covered ear up on top of the head as ear bandaged
  9. If the wound is deep or even after wrapping you see blood soak through, you are going to the vet. Also if you have a cone to place on your cat or dog to prevent them from scratching off the bandaging you will find yourself re-wrapping far less and the wound healing better.
    dog head bandage

    My dog Artie, resting after a bandage change from an injury cause by his sister who while playing – took a chunk out of his ear!

To learn more about wound care watch our video here, more importantly though, learn everything you need to know about pet first aid & CPR directly from a vet, right in your living room by taking our course now.


  1. Pingback: Can I Put Baby Powder On My Dog? - Gleeful Dog

    1. Author

      Great question! You’re better off using corn starch or even bleaches flour instead of baby powder which tends to have talc in it, as well as other additives. To reduce the chance of infection and decrease the bleeding, use cornstarch or flour when you do not have styptic.

  2. Pingback: How to Bandage a Dog's Ear in 7 Quick and Easy Steps - Howto

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