How to Prevent Dogs from Scratching Wounds: 6 Effective Methods


It’s heartbreaking to see our furry friends scratching at their wounds. We want them to heal quickly, but they just can’t resist the urge to scratch and nibble at the injury. So, how can we put an end to this and allow the wound to heal properly? In this article, we’ll explore six highly effective ways to prevent dogs from scratching their wounds.

6 Methods to Stop Your Dog from Scratching a Wound

1. Use a well-fitting Elizabethan or inflatable collar

An Elizabethan collar, commonly referred to as the “cone of shame,” may make your dog look a bit silly, but it serves its purpose. These collars are available on Amazon and are highly recommended by veterinarians. They prevent dogs from scratching their wounds with their teeth. Make sure to find a comfortable and properly fitting collar to ensure your dog’s comfort during this healing process. Another alternative is an inflatable collar, which limits head movement and prevents scratching. Always consult your vet before making a final decision.

2. Bandage the wound

Covering the wound with a bandage can be a simple yet effective solution. By concealing the wound, your dog may be less tempted to scratch or nibble at it. However, remember not to make the bandage too tight, as proper blood flow and oxygen circulation are crucial for the healing process. Change the bandage regularly and seek veterinary assistance if you notice any unusual swelling or odor.

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3. Have them wear a t-shirt or recovery suit

Similar to bandages, t-shirts can hide the wound from your dog and discourage their scratching behavior. If the wound is located on the shoulder, neck, or rib cage, a t-shirt can be an excellent option. Ensure that the t-shirt is not too tight, as it may interfere with blood and oxygen flow. If you prefer a more specialized solution, you can consider purchasing a recovery suit designed explicitly for dogs. Consult your vet to determine the best option for your furry friend.

4. Try an anti-itching cream and anti-licking spray

To reduce itchiness, you can apply an anti-itching cream that will provide relief to your dog’s wound. Additionally, using an anti-licking spray can deter them from scratching. These sprays have an unpleasant taste and smell that dogs tend to dislike, preventing them from aggravating the wound further. However, always consult your vet before using any products to ensure they are safe for your dog and won’t cause any harm.

5. Distract your dog with engaging activities

Boredom can often lead to excessive scratching. To prevent this, keep your dog mentally stimulated with engaging activities during the recovery period. Puzzle toy games are an excellent choice, providing mental exercise without excessive physical exertion. Avoid games involving running or excessive movement, as they may interfere with the healing process.

6. Stick to vet-approved wound care products

Using products that your vet hasn’t recommended can potentially worsen the wound. Stick to the vet-approved ones to avoid any unintended side effects and ensure a smooth healing process for your furry friend.

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Why do dogs scratch their wounds?

Understanding the reasons behind scratching can help address this behavior more effectively:

  • Instinctual care: Dogs instinctively try to take care of their wounds by scratching or licking them.
  • Itchiness: Healing wounds can be itchy, especially when new fur is growing or due to the tingling sensation caused by air entering the wound.
  • Temporary relief: Scratching the wound triggers the release of serotonin, providing temporary relief from pain.
  • Boredom: Dogs may resort to scratching and licking their wounds when they are bored.

It’s important to break this habit as scratching can hinder the healing process, lead to re-injury, and introduce harmful bacteria to the wound.


As dog owners, it’s our responsibility to help our furry friends heal properly and prevent them from scratching their wounds. By implementing these six effective methods and understanding the reasons behind their scratching behavior, we can ensure a smooth healing process and a happier, healthier pup.

Header image via Unsplash

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