First aid for bruises
- Most bruises can be managed at home and heal within approximately two weeks.
- However, multiple bruises or unexplained bruises can be a sign of a much more serious problem such as a bleeding/clotting disorder.
- All bruises (no matter how small) should be monitored.
- Always have your dog checked if they have any very large bruises, painful bruises or multiple, unexplained bruises.
What to do if your pet has a bruise
Step one: check your pet
- If you notice a bruise on your pet, check them for any other bruises, any wounds and other signs of illness.
- Multiple unexplained bruises can be a sign of a clotting/bleeding problem (which are rare but can be serious).
- Bruises after an operation are common, but should be monitored closely.
Step two: cold compress
- Cooling a new developing bruise can help reduce swelling and further bruising, but this is only helpful for new bruises, not old ones.
- You can make a cold compress by wrapping an ice pack (or some frozen peas!) in a towel.
- Place the cold pack gently on the bruise for ten minutes and stop if your pet becomes uncomfortable or distressed.
- If your pet has had an operation, you can very gently put a cold compress on the area and carefully clean around the wound, but try not to touch the wound itself as this might stop it from healing.
Step three: monitor the bruise
- All bruises should be monitored closely
- Most disappear after about two weeks.
Step four: contact your vet
Contact your vet for advice if your pet has:
- a very large or unexplained bruise
- multiple bruises
- a bruise that is growing quickly (especially after an operation), it might be completely normal but should be monitored
- a very painful bruise
- a bruise that has lasted more than two weeks.
Published: March 2020
Did you find this page useful?
Tell us more
Please note, our vets and nurses are unable to respond to questions via this form. If you are concerned about your pet’s health, please contact your vet directly.
Thank you for your feedback
Want to hear more about PDSA and get pet care tips from our vet experts?Sign up to our e-newsletter
PetWise Pet Health Hub – brought to you thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery
Written by vets and vet nurses. This advice is for UK pets only.
Illustrations by Samantha Elmhurst