How We Treated a Dog Bite with Essential Oils

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. The statements in this post are meant for educational and entertainment purposes only.

If you follow along on The Prairie Homestead Facebook page, then you probably know that we lost one of our dogs in the early part of December due to accidental antifreeze poisoning.

We had no intention of getting another dog so soon, but we heard of a young female South African Boerboel (Mastiff) that needed a new home.

“Rue” is a great dog. She’s only about 8 months old and still has a lot of puppy in her, so we are working to teach her about homestead life (don’t chase horses, don’t chase chickens…) She’s coming along well, but occasionally she can be aggressive towards certain other dogs.

The week after Christmas, she started a fight with our Blue Heeler, so hubby stepped in to break it up. In the confusion, she accidentally bit his hand. (Yes, we are 100% positive it was an accident. If we even had the slightest idea that she did it on purpose, she would be gone in an instant.)

Thankfully, she only got him with one canine tooth, but it was pretty deep. I don’t have a lot of experience with dog bites, but I knew I wanted to avoid a trip to the emergency room if at all possible, so we decided to go the natural route. (She has been vaccinated for rabies, so we knew that wasn’t an issue.)

And the results of our natural treatment? Absolutely astounding!

The bite wound has healed incredibly well- no redness, no swelling, no bruising, no infection.

And the best part? We didn’t use a single “modern” antibiotic– no ointments or prescriptions. (Why do we avoid antibiotics? This link explains one reason.) Here is how we did it:

How We Treated a Dog Bite with Essential Oils

natural treatment dog bite

First off, I brought hubby into the house and we cleaned the wound thoroughly. He held it under running water for several minutes to help flush it, and then we poured hydrogen peroxide on it several times.

Initially, I wasn’t quite sure what essential oils to use and I didn’t have time to research, so I went with my gut.

I grabbed melaleuca for it’s cleansing/antibacterial properties, clove to help numb the pain (he said it hurt- a LOT), and lavender to soothe.

I applied one drop of each directly to the bite, and then we bandaged it to keep it clean.

Unfortunately, this was also the day we were set to slaughter our hogs, so he stuck his glove back on and went outside… (It’s not a whole lot of fun to skin a hog with a bum hand… just FYI.)

After doing a little more reading later that day, I decided to switch to using a cleansing blend (ours contains lemon, melaleuca, cilantro, and other oils) and Frankincense.

I had him come back inside several times that day so I could remove the bandage, and repeat the oil application. (One drop each of the cleansing blend and Frankincense.)

The only other thing I did was to have him soak his hand in warm Epsom salt water that evening. I had read Epsom salts can help to clean the wound and draw out any infection, so I figured it would be a good added precaution.

We repeated the oil/bandaging protocol for the next several days. The wound never got swollen, or red, or nasty… I liked my essential oils before, but I really, really LOVE them now. ;)

hand

The bite about 10 days into healing. I know it looks pretty innocent now, but trust me– it was deep and nasty. (Yes, I’m kicking myself for not taking a photo right after it happened!)

A Few Notes:

  • If you are using essential oils for any sort of medicinal/first-aid purposes, make sure you are only using a high-quality oil. I personally use doTERRA oils, and am pleased-as-punch with them.
  • I think a huge part of our success was that we start using the oils immediately and continued to apply them frequently.
  • I will always have hydrogen peroxide and Epsom salts in my first aid kit from now on!
  • Please use common sense and caution when dealing with animal bites and other wounds. There is a time and place for medical intervention. You will have to make that call.

Interested in learning more about doTERRA essential oils?

Visit this page for more info, as well as a big list of all the ways I use my oils around the homestead.
Have you ever used essential oils in first-aid applications? What did you use?

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. This post is not to be taken as medical advice. Please exercise extreme caution when dealing with wounds.

STANDARD DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.

Comments

  1. Another answer (especially if you have to slaughter hogs heh) is to coat the wound with honey. “Medi honey” is best (Manukah honey), but in this kind of emergency ANY real 100% pure honey will do. It actually seals the wound, strangles any bacteria, and keeps it at the perfect moisture level. I swear by medi honey now, having seen Manukah honey heal a wound that a surgeon said would never heal (personal, first person experience here). :) Epsom salts are totally magic, too. I also use good quality sea salt for some things. We don’t use essential oils because of hubby’s allergies, which can drop him like a stone, unfortunately. The scents of most of them just send him into anaphalaxis. :(

    • I’ve heard a lot of folks rave about Manukah honey, but I haven’t yet tried it– I think I’ll have to get some! And bummer that your hubby can’t use EOs. :(

  2. Tracy Lynn Tucker says:

    Great work! I will just add that with a deep wound like that keeping it moist and clean so it can heal from the inside up is very important. So the Epsom salt soak had two excellent purposes. A lot of trouble can happen when a wound like that seals up on the top but the inside is still at work. I learned by experience as well with a machete and my toe!

    • Yes– I agree Tracy. In fact, I was tempted to use helichrysum oil, since it is supposed to be magical for healing wounds. However, I didn’t because it has tendencies to seal the wound up quickly (good for some injuries, but NOT for punctures!), so I chose to skip that one this time.

  3. I have to say, Manukah honey is worth every penny you spend on it. We have it in our bug out bags, our standard first aid kit, and our long term storage. I’ve used it on punctures, suture wounds, ears (ear piercing issues), burns (hello wood stove), scrapes, insect bites, etc. The only thing it doesn’t have is a numbing ability, so if something is itchy, it doesn’t go away until the inflamation goes away. In that case, I sometimes put a bit of something with numbing stuff on first, wipe it off after the numb starts, THEN put the honey on (kids mostly).

    A housemate of mine had hernia surgery a few years ago. It was near his groin, left side. They had to make a 3 or 4 inch incision, and it went deep into his body. They did the stitches and all that other stuff. After six weeks, they took out the stitches, and it just flopped open. The edges had not healed together (although the interior had started to heal). The doctor/surgeon was upset, because according to him once it reached that stage of healing, it would not heal closed ever. My friend was told he would be left with a gaping hole in his lower body. I asked the doc if I could try the manukah honey, and explained about it. He’d heard a *little* bit about it, and said it wouldn’t hurt, and to go ahead. Three weeks later, the wound was closed completely, with only a bit of white pucker on the outside where it was still healing up. He was flipped out, and how prescribes the manukah for all his patients.

    • Sweetpsalms119 says:

      I’ve never heard of it before. But I sure wish I had! I had hand surgery for both carpal tunnel and a pinched ulnar nerve. I knew some of the area that was stitched wasn’t healing right because it had edges poking out that were turning black and hard. When they took the stitches out, they tried to use surgi strips and surgi glue to glue the incision shut. (by the way, the surgi glue smells a whole lot like cloves lol) Anyways, to make a long story short, the incision opened upon my wridt area, and now I have an ugly scar. Surgery was at the end of sept, so, ive been putting mederma on it with hopes that it will help. The main ingredient is allium cepa (onion) extract.. :)

  4. Samantha B says:

    Just an FYI Epsom salts are also a great soak for bee/wasp stings. You reminded me since my upland dog gave me a bite like that (missed the training ball and got my finger). She’s only 20 lbs so not a big deal but it was deep and nasty. Same weekend she hit a ground wasp nest and got over 30 stings. I got her in the tub with me and soaked her in Epsom salts (catnip essential oil and lavender in the water for the anxiety and anti inflammatory). Took the stings right down from the size of marbles to nothing in under a minute. My finger healed faster than I would have expected… I never considered her singer bath helped my finger too!

  5. I have a question about essential oils. I would love to start using them more, I currently only use tea tree! My only problem is that we live on a super, super tight budget ($200 to feed a family of 5/month and this includes all of our personal hygene etc.). How can I get high quality oils without blowing this budget and making sure my family is safe from using “cheap” oils?

    • Hi Rebecca,
      Well, there are several ways to get doTERRA oils (the ones that I use) for reduced cost.
      If you sign up as a Preferred Member, you get everything for 20% off retail. And if you sign up as a consultant, you get everything for wholesale (25% off retail). Plus, consultants have the option of making commissions, which in turn can help pay for your own oil purchases.
      And, if you use the oils to make your own cleaning products, as well as for medicinal/first aid applications, they can replace the part of the budget that would normally go towards those items. I can send you more info if you’d like– just shoot me an email: jill (at) theprairiehomestead (dot) com

  6. I’m glad your husband is okay. A note, when using hydrogen peroxide, you should dilute it with water before putting on a wound. It can eat the good tissue as well when used full strength. My mare had got in a tangle with barbwire and I had to clean her wounds for weeks and I used a great herbal spray called Shriners that worked amazing, so I’m an advocate of natural remedies when we can.
    It must have been the weekend for pig butchering. We just butchered ours for a whole pig roast, so no skinning involved. In fact I did a video and tutorial. http://melissaknorris.com/2013/01/09/pioneering-today-how-to-butcher-a-whole-pig-for-a-roast-part-1/

    • Yes– I used to use Shriners all the time when I worked as a Vet Tech. Great stuff! Will have to check out that tutorial.. :)

  7. Kudos to working with this dog!

  8. I’m so glad that your darlin’ hubby is okay! Dog fights happen! Especially when there is a new one brought on the scene. When we got dog #2, we had a couple of times my husband had to intervene, and yes, he was bitten by them. This of course scared me that we were going to have to give up the new dog, but after some research I learned that when the dogs are fighting, they are not themselves. They get so into their “zone” that you are no longer that person who pets, loves and feeds them; you are the person that is in their way and usually you will get bit. I read that if your dogs fight, to throw a bucket of water over them and it will snap them out of the “zone” and make it much easier to separate them.

    I haven’t had to use the water method on mine since I read this tid-bit because the dogs finally found their groove and now play together, sleep together and will even eat out of each other’s bowls!!

    • I really like the water idea– will definitely keep this in mind for next time!!

    • Yes! Water does get the dogs out of their “zone”. A had a Doberman Pinscher 20 years ago who got into a fight with his brother, and the only way I was able to seperate them was turning the hose on them. I’m glad your hubby is okay!

  9. I want to use essential oils, just need to learn more about them. If you don’t mind my asking, how much did it cost for you to get started up in EO’s? Do you like this company? I’m VERY interested. Please email me if you don’t want to post back. noeljmcneil7@gmail.com

  10. I accidentally drove a pair of lock jaws into my hand–deeply enough that I should have probably had it stitched. It was bleeding profusely and hurt like the dickens! I irrigated it with bottled water (water was turned off as I was working on the water line at the time–darn!) and put lavender essential oil on it. The bleeding stopped immediately as did the pain. I finished the repair to the water line and then irrigated again with water which started severe pain. Lavender EO stopped it immediately again. I put a bandage on it. Before bed I put coconut oil along with lavender eo to keep it moist so it would heal from the inside out and bandaged. I continued with the coconut oil and lavender and then added Frankincense EO to it, reapplying and bandaging 2 times per day. It completely healed without even a scar within 10 days! Awesome! This was the first time I tried Lavender for bleeding and pain and I have to say–I’m never without it now! Glad your hubby is okay!

  11. I never go anywhere without t36 c5 Melaleuca oil on hand or salve made with it. I got mine from Melaleuca:: the Wellness company.

    LOVEI also keep clove and mint on hand and many herbs.

    You brave to use anything on a puncture wound! I think the bottle says no to use peroxide on puncture wounds but everything says that! lol

    Awesome post.. and dont chide yourself… you were nursing not photographing! :-)

    Teri
    Terigelseth.com

    • Yes, at first the puncture intimidated me a bit more than a regular wound would, but I figured as long as we kept it super clean and made sure it didn’t seal up too fast, we’d be ok. ;)

  12. I was telling my husband about this post last night. I’m also one who is interested in ordering but don’t know where to start. We’re wanting to use essential oils both for our medicine cabinet and for around the house. I’d love to order something in time to still get the promo. If you could give us a push in the right direction I’d be grateful. email: info@blackfoxhomestead.com Thank you!

  13. Sweetpsalms119 says:

    I’d like to add something that I actually learned in the E.R.. There was a little boy there that had been bitten by a dog on his leg, and his bed was next to mine. I overheard the attending physician going over dog bite procedures with a physicians assistant. So, their conversation had a lot of Q&A to it. I learned basic hospital procedure for dog bite wounds. First, they inject all around it and possibly in it to numb the area. Then, they irrigate the bite with water only. This is very important that cleaning out the wound is not done with salt water. I found out that salt water, or saline solution, will have the same salinity as our cells. So, instead of clearing out the dog saliva, the dog saliva can be absorbed into the surrounding cells and tissue. (i really never knew that!) Then, they clean the wound vigorously with epsom salt. Hence the need for a numbing agent, because that has to hurt!

  14. Please advise your readers that hydrogen peroxide causes many good cells to die with the bad. When it bubbles it’s killing good cells also. Do not use it unless absolutely necessary. I do on pets cause I can’t put the cat under the faucett to use soap and water.

  15. On the subject of breaking up dog fights – our 2 larger dogs started fighting recently and I finally got tired of being bitten breaking them up. I looked online and found that the best way to break them up is to grab their hind feet wheelbarrow like; this gets them off balance, or at the very least you are away from their face/teeth! lol. We did this the last time they fought and I didn’t get bitten. yay! For the record the 2 hoodlums are not allowed together any more so… no fighting. They only had to be near each other and the Lab would go after the BlueTick/Lab and madness ensued. {All 3 of my dogs are crate trained so it’s fairly easy to let them out in shifts}
    Oh and the water might not work – their first fight was outside and I took a hose to them. It took forever and a consistent really high focused stream in the face from the hose to get the Lab off the BTLab. {aren’t Labs sup to be the darlings of the doggie world??}
    Up until the first fight they would drink water together, and being near each other wasn’t a problem … then the Lab started getting territorial.
    Anyway, glad your dh’s wound healed well. We used natural products on my wounds too – one on my leg, from the smaller dog jumping into the fray, I used a slave w/ coconut oil, calendula, & other herbs – It was pretty deep but is healing nicely. :) Oh and thanks for the reminder about the honey!

    • Good idea on breaking up dog fights– will keep that one in mind! Sometimes they aren’t always close to a hose or bucket. Glad your bites are healing well– definitely not fun.

  16. Hi, Jill, lovely post. I too would appreciate having more info on using essential oils. We are moving onto a boat in a few weeks & will often be away from any help & so I’m trying to put together a natural healing medicine kit. I don’t really know where to start but would like to have the right things aboard once we leave for Central America since I don’t know what we can get down there. Though they probably depend on natural aids more than most North Americans. Can you recommend a comprehensive natural healing book so that I know what to do with all the new products? Thanks so much for sharing with all of us.

  17. Hi, Jill; lots of good information here. We are also interested in learning more about EO’s but it’s hard to know where to start. Also, what book or books on natural healing and herbals would you recommend? There is so much to learn. Growing up in the 40′s and 50′s my parents lived frugally and we never saw a doctor; used home remedies. Guess I didn’t learn enough to carry me through to now. I remember a lot but not as much as I would like. We are retired and on a limited budget so our resources are limited. Any advice and comments would be welcome. Thank you so much for your great site. Love what you do. Glad your hubby is okay now. We have 2 part-chows who have spats now and again. So the advice about breaking them up is good to know. Martha

  18. Thanks for all your great info, Jill!! I am a newbie to your site and am very interested in EOs. If you would, please shoot me over some info. My hubby and I own a carry home dinner store and I would like to have materials available for my customers — which would help pay for all my EO needs:) BTW, talk about dog fights!! whew! we lived with that for over 5 years before we figured out that we should just have them live separate lives in the same house. Our house has doors to every room — even the living room — so we can keep them in separate rooms and everyone is happy and calm. The last bite I had (2 years ago) was in my hand and actually broke a bone!! Horrible!! Thanks!! Bobbi

  19. Michelle Patterson says:

    My dad has been using Frankincense to help with pain in his legs caused by MS and he is loving the results! #oils4everyone

  20. Karen Haynes says:

    I worry about using straight HP. It can damage delicate tissue making the damage worse. I dilute it 1/2 and 1/2 with sterile water. I make a dandy healing balm with bees wax, coconut oil, Hemp oil, Vit. E oil, Frankincense oil and Lavender oil. I like the idea of using Clove oil to kill the pain! I like using a dab of raw honey on the open wound as it has anti-bacterial properties, etc. I love your blog and look forward to reading it!

  21. Is it possible that the wound would have healed if kept cleanly bandaged after the initial peroxide and Epsom salt soak? I just clean cuts and leave them. Never had an issue and no EOs needed.

  22. I have read that some essential oils (one of which being cloves) should not be used on open wounds. Did you actually use these oils neat on a deep puncture wound? It’s great to share experiences, but it is very important that recommendations are known to be safe. There is so much wrong, and even dangerous, information out there about EOs.

  23. Courtney says:

    Love this. I recently (3-31-14) got a dog bite from my mom’s 11 year old shih tzu who has never had a dental cleaning (bite was on purpose, not an accident) and I’ve been using coconut oil and lavender oil and it’s been helping it a lot! So this post is helping a lot! Love coconut oil and the lavender oil seems to be helping as well! Tried neosporin at first and coconut oil has seemed to progress healing, since I had meat hanging out of my hand and it seems to be back inside and is healing well!

  24. I use EOs from another well known company and add a mixture of vegetale oils to the EO to make it last longer. I too experienced a nasty dog bite not intentional I was playing tug with a dog who had 0 CDhe was winning and I grabbed for the knot in the middle that movement caused him to grab as well he got my thumb popped the thumbnail up and layed the skin back I flushed it with water added: lavender to stop the bleeding then used helicrysm, lemongrass frankincense and Melrose. it definitely could have benefited from stitches but I am a scaredy cat so I used butterfly bandages and continued to use the oils. it was healing and was a nice pink within 90 days never any bruising despite the trauma. by the way I was told never to use lavender on a puncture wound that’s cuz it will close up and the infection is trapped inside.

    also a note regarding grabbing the back of legs of a dog to stop a dog fight try to figure out which one is the aggressor and grab their legs first so the non aggressor can get away.

  25. 9 days not 90 ;-) smart phone must have decided it should have taken 90 days lol

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