Pet First Aid: How to Apply a Bandage
When accidents or injuries happen, bandages are used to help promote proper healing of wounds and surgical incisions. They protect injured areas from environmental containments like dirt and debris and also help to keep your pet from licking/ bothering the affected area. Unlike human bandages that are usually adhesive, pet bandages consist of multiple layers, with the first layer being a nonstick pad that will not stick to the wound or your pet’s fur. The next several layers provide padding and protection both from moisture and from your pet trying to pull it off. Follow our steps below to properly apply a bandage and help your pet’s wounds heal faster.
- White medical tape
- Non-stick gauze/Tefla pad
- Cotton Roll
- Stretch Gauze Roll
- Place stirrup of white tape on the skin hanging below the foot. This will help to keep the bandage from slipping.
2. Apply a non-stick gauze or Tefla pad to any wounds or sutured area. Be sure that wound area is cleaned, disinfected, and dried before applying pad.
3. Wrap cotton roll around the leg to either immobilize affected joints or to cover any wounds. Always roll the cotton away from the leg to help prevent the bandage from being too tight. Always start distally (towards the toes) and work your way more proximally up the leg (this aid in circulation). Any layers of cotton should be smooth, as wrinkles can cause pressure on the limb, leading to sores.
4. Wrap stretch gauze around the leg, in the same method as described in step #3.
5. If you have used a stirrup, fold the loose end up and secure it to the bandage.
6. Wrap Vetwrap as you did with the roll cotton and stretch gauze. It is always best to unroll the Vetwrap and then re-roll it prior to using it in your bandage. This helps to loosen the Vetwrap and helps prevent your bandage from being too tight.
7. Secure the bandage at the top with some white tape or Elasticon.
8. Try to leave the middle two toes exposed when applying the bandage so you can monitor them for swelling. Toes that become swollen or cool to the touch would indicate that your bandage is too tight and needs to be removed right away.
9. Monitor the bandage closely to ensure that it stays clean and dry. You should change the bandage if it becomes soiled, as any moisture trapped under a bandage can lead to infection. If you have any questions or concerns, or if there is evidence of swelling or pressure sores, contact your veterinarian right away.
10. You can use a Ziploc bag to cover and protect the bandage when your pet is outside to help keep the bandage clean and dry.
In addition to the supplies listed above, we also recommend putting together a pet first aid kit that is easily accessible at home or can travel with you in the car. Sometimes, the easiest way to create a pet first aid kit is to buy a human kit and build on it with pet-specific items. Here’s our list of recommended items for your pet’s first aid kit. Don’t forget to include any medicines or supplies related to your pet’s specific health needs. And remember, any first aid administered to your pet should be followed by immediate veterinary care. First aid care is not a substitute for veterinary care, but it may save your pet’s life until they receive professional veterinary treatment. You can get more of our pet first aid tips here.