When to apply ice and when to apply heat to an injury is something that many people forget when they hurt themselves let alone when their pets get hurt. The rule for icing and heating however, remains the same.
Injuries in our pets can be scary because they can’t tell us exactly where it hurts or what hurts. It is always best to consult your veterinarian if you have concerns about your pets health, this will allow you to ensure that an injury is not more serious than you think. In many instances however, icing and heating injuries is a great way to treat at home after a vet’s visit and it can often speed up the healing process and reduce your pet’s discomfort. The best key to remember when it comes to icing and heating is not to use heat treatments after activity, and not to use use heat after an acute injury.
Icing an injury reduces swelling in the affected area.
Swelling most often occurs in recent injuries – those which took place in the last 48 hours. Swelling can also occur in chronic injuries – this is particularly common in working dogs that have athletic injuries.
Heating an injury promotes blood flow to the affected area and promotes healing.
Heating injuries helps to relax the area and is particularly helpful before and during physical activity for pets with chronic conditions.
You should NEVER apply ice directly to your pet’s skin as it can burn and you should ALWAYS ensure that a heating pad is not too warm for your pet’s skin.