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How Do I Choose the Best Dog Bandage?

Dog Care
9 minutes read
It is always concerning when our dogs get injured, and sometimes, injuries require bandages. How do you know the best one for the injury?
Expert reviewed by:  
Written by:
Susana Bradford
Published on:  
September 7, 2022
Updated on:  
September 7, 2022

If your dog gets any injury, especially a cut or laceration, you may need to bandage it on the spot. Choosing the right dog bandage largely depends on the type of wound your dog has. Gauze pads are great for bandaging because they can help stop bleeding while keeping the wound closed..

You can use rolled gauze, a self-adhesive bandage, or an elastic bandage to hold a gauze pad in place or immobilize a limb. A many-tailed bandage (a bandage that has split tabs) is also an excellent choice for bandaging abdominal or neck wounds. Liquid bandages can also be used to treat minor injuries like scratches.

Although adhesive bandages are popular for humans, they are not typically recommended for animal use. Since dogs have fur, these bandages stick to the fur instead of the skin. This will usually limit the bandage's effectiveness and make it hard to remove without causing your dog more pain.

 

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Be Prepared in Advance

Dogs are naturally playful, which exposes them to abrasions, cuts, and other minor injuries. Some of these minor injuries can be treated at home without the need to contact a veterinarian. Therefore, it is always prudent to have a first aid kit in such an emergency.

In addition to bandages, the emergency kit should include a pet's cleaning solution, tweezers, clean towels, and antibacterial ointment. The emergency kit can even include things to keep your pet calm during injuries, such as small treats, a small toy, a fluffy blanket, and an extra harness and leash. 

Dog first-aid kits are premade and available for purchase; however, you can always make your own.

Even in more severe injuries requiring a trip to the vet, the first aid kit can help keep the situation from worsening and stabilize the dog's condition.

What Do I Use To Bandage A Dog's Wound?

In dog first aid, a gauze pad is a valuable dog bandage. By pressing it to the wound, you can help stop the bleeding in scratches, cuts, and abrasions. It can also be secured to a healing wound on a dog to keep the damage clean. This can help prevent infection and keep the dog from reopening the wound. Different sizes of gauze pads are available, depending on the size of the wound.

Wounds on the abdomen or neck can be challenging to bandage. A many-tailed dog bandage is usually best to dress a wound in one of these areas. This rectangular bandage has ends cut into strips or tails. It can be wrapped around the abdomen or neck, and the tails can be tied together to hold it in place.

Like other animals, dogs can also break bones. When they do, it is essential to immobilize the bone until you can get the animal to a veterinarian. Gently place a stick against the dog's bone and then wrap it with rolled gauze, an adhesive bandage, or an elastic bandage.

Rolled Gauze 

This bandage can be used alone or to hold a gauze pad in place, especially one covering a wound on a limb or the head. The gauze pad can be placed on the injury, and the rolled gauze can be wrapped around the limb or head to hold it. It can be tied or secured with first aid tape to keep it in place.

Self-Adhesive Bandage 

A self-adhesive bandage is usually a better option to hold a dog bandage in place. This bandage is generally elastic and doesn't require tape or fasteners since it sticks to itself, similar to velcro or magnets.

Elastic Bandage

An elastic bandage can also be used as a dog bandage. Along with keeping a gauze pad in place, an elastic bandage can be used to compress an injured area, which helps reduce swelling. Most elastic bandages are usually secured with Velcro® or metal clips.

Liquid Bandage

Small wounds, such as minor scratches, also usually need to be covered to prevent infection. For these wounds, you can use a liquid dog bandage. This substance is typically brushed onto the wound and allowed to dry. This forms a protective waterproof cover over the wound.

 

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How to Treat Wounds At Home

Before you begin bandaging a dog's wound, ensure the dog is as calm as possible. Even dogs that have never been aggressive can react differently due to the distress of a painful injury. Soothe the dog and, if possible, have a friend help you gently hold it down.

Stop the Bleeding

If the wound is still bleeding, use a clean towel and apply a little pressure. For simple cuts, bleeding should stop in a few minutes, but if the bleeding continues, you should get to a vet as soon as possible.

Clean the Wound

Use a water bottle to remove any dirt or debris on the wound. If you're dealing with a puncture wound, it may extend deeper, so you must first clean the wound thoroughly to do the next step. 

Remove Foreign Objects

Use tweezers to remove the wound's sticks, glass, or other foreign objects. You can use a magnifying glass to see more minor things and ensure the injury is entirely free of debris before you proceed. Be extra careful, as bandaging the wound without first removing the debris can cause further problems down the road and lead to infection.

Disinfect the Wound 

Use a cleaning agent to disinfect the wound. You can use diluted chlorhexidine or betadine with an applicator on the wounded area. Avoid using hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol, as these can damage the wounded tissue and prolong healing.

Bandage the Wound

Apply some antibacterial ointment, cover the wound with a bandage, and secure it with elastic tape. After bandaging, you may consider using an Elizabethian collar (otherwise known as a cone) to stop the dog from fussing with the bandage before it fully heals. 

Don't forget to give your dog a treat and offer high praise and plenty of love and affection for staying calm throughout the treatment.

 

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Where Can I Put a Bandage on My Dog?

You can put a bandage on the head, neck, tail, chest, or lower legs. Keeping a bandage in place on the upper part and the front of the dog may be challenging, and you should see a vet if your dog has a wound around these parts. 

During travel, your ESA letter will let you have your dog around, and you can visit the local vet. 

How Many Layers Does A Dog Bandage Have?

Dog bandages are usually made up of several layers. Small bandages don't work well on dogs because adhesive bandages don't stick well to a dog's fur coat. 

Dogs don't like things stuck to their fur and may try to remove a bandage if it is not secured in layers. Most times, three to four layers should be enough, and each layer serves an important function.

First Layer

This is the dressing layer. If the wound is not infected, you can use a bandage that does not stick to the fur. If the injury is infected, apply a sterile adhesive bandage containing an antiseptic to control the infection.

Second Layer

A second layer secures the dressing and provides cushioning to the injured area. It should be pet-friendly rolled gauze, cotton, or synthetic padding. This layer's thickness is usually adjusted based on the severity of the wound.

Third Layer

The third layer is typically composed of an elastic material that wraps around the wound without an adhesive. It is a more rigid protective layer for the first two layers and prevents moisture from getting into the wound. 

The final layer, whether the third or fourth, will usually be surgical tape made of a strong adhesive material that sticks to the fur and prevents the dog from removing the bandage. This step can be the multi-tailed bandage, which ties around the dog, and aids in better removal later.

 

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Caring for the Bandage

As the dog heals, keep an eye on the bandage for any color changes or recurring bleeding. If the wound is infected, replace the bandage within 1-3 days. The bandage should be kept dry, and you should regularly check for tightness in case the wound causes inflammation.

Check for Tenderness or Discoloration

Check the area surrounding the bandage for tenderness or discoloration, as these symptoms may indicate a deep tissue injury. Ensure that your dog does not pull or bite at the bandage. You may also need a cone to immobilize its head during the initial stages of recovery.

Restrict Movement

Restrict unnecessary movements and exercise while the dog heals for the first few days. If you have an ESA dog, you can use a plastic bag to keep the bandage dry and clean when you're outdoors. In more severe cases, you can confine your dog to a room or crate to prevent it from tampering with the bandage.

 

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Further Information

If your dog is seriously injured, you may be wondering what further steps you can take to ensure a healthy return to everyday life. Sometimes, painkillers can help if the injury is severe, or even leaving the injury unbandaged can be the best option.

There are also topical treatments that you can apply to prevent further infection and ensure drainage. Consult your vet to find out which medication is best for your pet.

Medication

Your vet may prescribe some medications to relieve pain for wounds that cause pain and discomfort. The most common prescriptions are carprofen, meloxicam, or deracoxib. These medications are available at most chemists, and your ESA certification will cover any emergencies that may arise when away from home with your dog. 

No Bandage

Some dog wounds may be left open if they are not severe or are in inconvenient places. Letting the wound heal naturally may be best since the trauma and contamination during bandaging may cause bacteria to enter the tissue. 

Overnight Stays

If a vet needs to see the dog's wound, they may require an overnight stay, especially if it is severe. For severe injuries, a dog may best benefit from staying overnight in a vet hospital, where they can be monitored through the night and have immediate care, should the wound require it.

Your dog's health is paramount for its continued service as your companion or emotional support animal. Bandaging wounds and other injuries promote faster healing and keep your dog active and excited to explore the world with you.

 

Get helpful pet care information and other helpful resources by visiting Pettable's blog.

Meet the author:
Susana Bradford

Susana is an avid animal lover and has been around animals her entire life, and has volunteered at several different animal shelters in Southern California. She has a loving family at home that consists of her husband, son, two dogs, and one cat. She enjoys trying new Italian recipes, playing piano, making pottery, and outdoor hiking with her family and dogs in her spare time.