How can I prevent my dog from getting an abscess?

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The key to preventing an abscess is taking steps to prevent infection. An even better option is preventing the wound or other source of infection in the first place. There is no one cure-all prevention for abscesses, as each type has its own aspects to consider.

Tooth Abscess: Regular annual exams will allow your veterinarian to assess your pet’s dental health, check for damaged teeth and early signs of potential abscesses. It’s a good idea to discourage things like playing with rocks and chewing on hard bones, since this can increase your dog’s chance of fracturing a tooth.

Wounds: If your dog roams loose and gets into fights, consider fencing in your yard. If you know they get into fights, check them carefully when they come home from a long day out roaming. Be aware of their environment and things on which they can injure themselves. If you regularly hike in the woods with your dog, or you have hunting dogs, consider special boots made to protect their feet from rocks, sticks and debris hidden in the leaves. Keep a pet first aid kit, and be sure to clean and disinfect wounds immediately should they occur. Deep wounds should be examined by a veterinarian as quickly as possible.

Anal Glad Abscesses: If your dog has recurring problems expressing their anal glands, consider having them regularly expressed by your veterinarian. Many owners also ask the veterinary staff to teach them how to express at home. If the problem is bad enough, it is possible to surgically remove the glands.

Ears: If your dog is prone to regular ear infections, talk to your veterinarian about the best product to keep them clean. Some dogs require weekly or even daily cleaning to prevent infection. Clean and dry their ears after swimming to help reduce moisture that can encourage yeast and bacteria growth. Contact your vet if they shake their head frequently, an early sign that ears are itchy or painful.

A little proactive protection and early treatment when problems arise can make the difference in preventing a painful abscess.

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