Why hydrogen peroxide should not be used on wounds

Breaking the medical myths

I often come across people with dogs who feel bad because they missed something important that would have prevented their dog from getting sick or living a shortened life. In these situations, I try to comfort them because making mistakes is a part of life and learning. The measure of love and care is the intention behind the action.

A mistake that 9 out of 10 people make

It may surprise you that in medicine and healing there is one particular mistake many people make because they don’t know it can be harmful.

It is a common belief that using hydrogen peroxide for treating and disinfecting wounds is the right thing to do. However, that is not true. 

Based on facts and verification in my veterinary practice, HYDROGEN PEROXIDE SLOWS DOWN HEALING. Yes, you read correctly. Many people, and even nurses and doctors, use hydrogen peroxide for wound care and unknowingly make things worse. 

Over many tens of thousands of years mammals’ bodies have evolved to overcome and heal skin wounds. The immune system’s soldiers, the white blood cells and also the antibodies in the blood, protect wounds from bacteria, impurities and toxins.

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The healing of wounds depends on two main factors. Preventing an infection and skin cell regrowth – wound healing. 

When hydrogen peroxide is poured on a wound, there is a formation of water and oxygen. It definitely flushes out and destroys bacteria in the wound, but it also kills the skin cells that are there to multiply and heal the skin defect. 

The cell death happens due to the reaction of hydrogen peroxide and peroxidase, an enzyme in each cell and bacteria.

Using hydrogen peroxide creates a layer of dead skin cells at the margin of the wound, which makes wounds heal slower and it may lead to wound scarring, non-healing chronic wounds and steroid and antibiotic dependence. 

Next time your dog has a cut you may want to try a wound care protocol that I have used for the past few decades with really reliable results.

Rinse the wound with body temperature or colder water – not too hot.

Ensure that any dirt, sand and hair are out of the wound.

Dry the wound with a sterile gauze.

Spray Skin Spray on the wound.

Apply Skin Spray on a piece of sterile gauze, apply it to the wound and secure the gauze with Vetrap (self-adhesive) bandage.

Change the bandage twice daily and repeat steps 1 to 5. 



Recommended reading:

Why thick scabs increase scarring and the risk of infections

5 most common mistakes people make when treating skin wounds and incisions

Natural treatment of wounds, incisions, hotspots, bee stings, insect bites and more

© Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM

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