The Proper Way To Bandage Your Dog

A dog bandage correctly applied allows proper healing of wounds from injury or incisions from surgery. Bandages stabilize bones and joints, stop bleeding, block germs and reduce pain. Knowing how to properly bandage your dog's wounds will help your dog get better faster.

Materials for Bandaging Your Dog

Ideally, you should always carry a first aid kit stocked with necessary bandaging supplies, including:

  • antiseptic
  • sterile pads
  • rolls of cotton and gauze
  • adhesive bandages or tape
  • household sticky tape

In addition, should learn how to substitute materials you have on hand to create makeshift bandages if necessary.

How to Bandage Your Dog

  1. Clean and disinfect the wound.
  2. Place a sterile, nonstick, absorbent pad on the wound.
  3. Layer a gauze bandage over the pad, leaving one-third of the bandage exposed with each wrap. In the process, wrap some of your dog's fur on either side of the pad.
  4. Wrap one layer of adhesive tape or bandage over the gauze bandaging.
  5. Place two fingers under the bandaging, testing for proper pressure. Remove fingers and continue wrapping with adhesive material, extending it over the sides of the underlying gauze.
  6. Remove your fingers, continuing to wrap the adhesive material at the same pressure.
  7. Connect fur and bandage with a strip of sticky tape, as extra insurance against slippage.

Bandaging Tips for Different Injuries

Injuries can happen to any part of your dog's body. Follow the directions above, using these added tips for different injuries:

  • Ear, bleeding - Place a pad on the affected ear (sanitary pads work well). Wrap long strips of gauze or torn material around the head and over the ears, but not the eyes. Apply adhesive tape or bandage over the gauze, as directed above.
  • Leg wound - Wrap roll cotton over a gauze pad placed on the leg wound; wrap stretch gauze over the cotton; wrap adhesive tape or bandage over the gauze.
  • Leg fracture - Bandage a leg as directed above, also wrapping the joint above and below a fracture. To create a splint, place flat sticks or straight pieces of metal on either side of the leg, securing splints to bandaging with adhesive tape. (Note: Don't bandage or splint a broken humerus or femur. Also, splints work best on front legs.)
  • Tail wound - Bandage the tail with a pad, gauze, and adhesive material as directed above. Using a long strip of material, secure the tail against the dog's side to prevent wagging and possible re-injury.
  • Torso wound - Wrap a towel or pillow case around the torso, securing bandaging with pins on the side opposite the wound.

Alternative Materials You Can Use for Bandages

If you do not have bandaging materials available, you can use strips of clean sheets, towels and clothing cut or torn to the right size. You can also use household paper products for pads, sticking them to water-soluble jelly smeared on the wound. In addition, rolled up newspapers and magazines make good splints; for very small dogs, pencils or pens work well, too.

Keeping Bandages Dry, Clean and Secure

Always check and change your dog's bandages on schedule. Make sure bandages are clean, dry and secure-not too loose or tight. Protect bandages with plastic trash, grocery or bread bags when your dog goes outside to use the restroom. Use an Elizabethan collar to prevent your from dog chewing bandages. Change bandages immediately if they become dirty, wet or dislodged, or you notice any swelling, chafing, redness, discharge or foul odors, contacting your vet immediately.