In the case of hot liquids, you need to cool the area off with cold water or wet, cold and clean towels, but this only applies if the wound is fresh.

If the skin is cold then you need to be really careful as the skin is compromised. As a result, bacteria can easily colonise the damaged area, so use clean and preferable sterile dressings.

Veterinary attention should be sought immediately. As the skin has been damaged bacteria can enter and so cleaning and antibiotics may be required for smaller lesions. In larger lesions, much more aggressive therapy is required. In most cases intravenous fluid therapy will be needed as well as pain relief, antibiotics and often frequent dressing changes (which your dog may need to be sedated for). The prognosis depends on the extent of the burn but in most cases is good.

Electrical injuries nearly always affect the mouth, and will show as burns on the lips and across the roof of the mouth, so don’t forget to open the mouth and have a look inside if you find a damaged electrical cable within your dog’s reach. If there are lesions on the back or top of the head then hot liquids are possible.

Caustic substances may well most commonly affect the feet and mouth/tongue (from licking to clean themselves) and heat pads and hot water bottles will affect the tummy.


Veterinary Centers of America
American College of Veterinary Surgeons
UC Davis
Washington State University
American College of Veterinary Surgeons
Dogs Naturally
Dr Conor Brady

This information is not meant to be a substitute for veterinary care. Always follow the advice provided by your veterinarian.