pressure sores, old dog
Image by Ulrike Mai from Pixabay

What are pressure sores? They are small bald spots that are typically hard with callous on your dog. You will often see them on their elbows or hips. Pressure sores are caused by your dog laying in place for too long or from highly repeated movements such as getting up and down in the same way.

Pressure sores are more typical with older dogs or overweight dogs. They are similar to bed sores in people . As your dog gets older they tend to move around less. They also will have more difficulty with getting up and down. Often they will kind of collapse down onto their elbows instead of lowering themselves down. The regular trauma to the area of dropping down onto their elbows and prolonged periods of time of laying in one place causes these pressure sores to develop in the more boney parts of their body, mainly elbows and hips.

These pressure sores are also called decubital ulcers.

Symptoms of Pressure Sores

  • Stained hair where the ulcer or pressure sore is located
  • Hair loss
  • Reddish patches of skin
  • Hardening or thickening of the skin to form a callous
  • Fluid filled areas on the bony parts
  • Ulcers, open wounds, or abscesses
  • Licking and worrying of the sore

What do you do about pressure sores?

Unfortunately there is not much you can do about them once they have developed. Prevention is the best option. You can help prevent pressure sores by helping your dog get up from laying down, provide them with a soft bed to lay on, keeping the bedding clean, keeping their fur clean so it doesn’t mat in those areas, helping to keep them mobile through exercise.

If your dog has pressure sores you want to make sure they stay clean. If they are getting really hard you should put moisturizer on it. If they crack and bleed you may need to put antibiotic ointment to help prevent any infection. If you do notice an infection or oozing of any kind you need to take him into your Albuquerque veterinarian to have the sores looked at. If there is an abscess it may need to be drained. If your dog is overweight, putting them on a diet and exercise plan to help them shed some of the weight will help take the pressure off the sores. If your dog is really old and is mostly immobile, you should rotate how they are laying and change their position so they are not always laying in the same way and on the same spots.

Most of the time if you keep an eye on the pressure sores they will be fine. If you are concerned you should speak with your vet. These are a big sign that your dog is getting older and may need more assistance from you in general.