How to bandage your pet’s paw

This month, Dr Ed Hunt and his wife Dr Rachel have written a very informative article with First Aid Tips about bandaging for bandaging your pet before taking them to the vet.

First Aid Tips about bandaging for your pet before taking to the veterinary surgery

By Dr Ed (and Dr Rachael) Hunt

The other day our young dog Pace cut her paw pad rather badly when out walking, and despite Rachael and I both being vets we don’t have much bandaging equipment at home. Thus, Rach decided it would be a great idea to take a few photos of the wound, and do a simple series on how to apply a quick bandage to stop the bleeding, keep the wound clean and allow people a chance to get their dog into the vets.

The one bandage we would recommend purchasing to have in your car/home first aid kit is “vet rap” or other cohesive bandage as most of the human bandaging equivalents are simply not as useful as vet rap is. You can easily purchase it over the counter at your local clinic or equestrian supply store. It comes in a huge range of colours and many of the cheaper brands (eg. vet cohesive wrap) are tearable, so you don’t need to use scissors. I find the 7.5cm size the most versatile for 20-30 kg weight and sized dogs if you are just purchasing a roll or two to have at home. (It also comes in 5cm and 10cm.)

Other than that most of the bandages in your own first aid kit can be used. The other thing to mention is if you do live rurally or have farm animals and have purple/ blue spray at home, please do not use this on your dog’s wounds  as the dye makes it very hard to examine a  wound when your vet looks at it.  Aside from that the principles to bandaging are:

1. Clean with water and dry wound.

2. Place on a non-adhesive dressing over the wound. At work we would usually use something like melolin or a telfa dressing… however I could only find swabs at home. Thus to make sure they did not stick to the cut we put a thick layer of zinc cream over the foot before putting the swabs on.


3. Wrap foot with soft bandaging material to provide padding over the boney aspects of the foot. The bandage should extend above the joint above the wound to stop it slipping. In this case the wound is on the foot so it needs to extend above the wrist (carpus) joint.

4. Cover in vet rap/cohesive bandage.

5. Put sticky bandage around the top to stop it slipping/dog chewing off.

6. Walk on leash and don’t let dog get bandage wet and change at least 24 hourly.

This last photo shows the cut at the first bandage change after 24 hours.


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