Bandages and Your Dog

Two bandages in a X shape. Image courtesy of Pixabay.

Band-Aids? Not for your dog!

Band-Aids are a staple of minor wound care. Whether it be cuts or scratches or minor burns, we always rely on them to keep our wounds protected to heal. 

Dogs are a different story, though.

Your kid (or maybe you) might want to slap a band-aid onto your canine friend to make their hurt go away, but it isn’t that simple for dogs. If we receive a wound, our first thought is to bandage the abrasion. That way, the bleeding stops and the wound is safely covered-–however, sticking a Band-Aid onto your pup would not make things better. Band-Aids are absolutely not something dogs can use. They stick to their fur and skin, and hurt them when you pull them off. So what can you do instead, and why can’t dogs wear Band-Aids? 

Wrapping the bandage protects the wound from becoming infected. Image courtesy of Vista.

Why band aids are bad for dogs

Band-Aids are the old reliable when it comes to human boo-boos, but when a dog gets hurt, you can’t give them a bandage. The adhesive, which was made specifically for human skin in mind, will only cause more problems for a dog’s skin; it could potentially pull out their fur and cause infections. If the wound looks like it has debris in it, wash it out immediately. Rinse out the wound with water or saline solution. (you can make the solution using a tablespoon of salt in two cups of water).

 Do not use soap, alcohol, or hydrogen peroxide–these materials may potentially delay the healing process, and are toxic if ingested. Unless your veterinarian instructs you to, do not use those products to clean your dog’s wounds. 

If the wound is still bleeding after it is cleaned, apply pressure to it with gauze to stop the bleeding. Wrap a cloth bandage around the gauze to keep it in place. Keep it wrapped for about three minutes, or until the blood clots. Keep checking every three minutes to see if the blood has clotted; if not, keep using the gauze to apply pressure to the wound. 

Your dog will get the proper care they need upon arrival at your veterinarian’s office. Image courtesy of Pexels.

Cleaning the wound is crucial to keeping your dog infection-free. If your dog sustained their injury from a tousle with another animal, they have the potential of acquiring rabies. If you suspect this to be the case, immediately consult your veterinarian to discuss potential treatment and care. 

Bandage care

After your dog has been properly bandaged, you need to make sure that the bandage is cared for well. In order to keep the wound infection-free, cleaning it frequently is a must. 

To clean keep up bandage maintenance, here’s what you’ll need to do: 

  1. Remember to keep the bandaged injury out of the dogs’ mouth. Dogs can become irritated with the bandage and chew it up, even if they don’t seem to have any interest in that. Chewing the bandage out of boredom or itchiness is also common. A wet bandage will constrict the legs, creating infections and bad odors emitting from the wound. This is the last thing you want, so make sure to keep your dog’s bandages dry. 
  2. Change the bandage a few times a day as designated by your veterinarian. Changing the bandage will promote healing and prevent infections from occurring in the wound. With this particular tip, you MUST follow the instructions of care your dog’s veterinarian gives you; they know the best course of action for your dog’s health.
  3. Give your dog any treatments your veterinarian has prescribed for them. Antibiotic cream may be prescribed for your dog’s wounds, so be sure to be consistent in administering that to your dog–don’t stop giving it to them unless the veterinarian recommends that. 
  4. If the wound is pus-filled or has discharge, massage the skin around it to help drain the abscess. Draining the wound will clear out any debris and liquid from the skin, and help to thoroughly heal the abrasion.
Remember to change your dog’s bandage at least twice a day, or however much your vet recommends. Image courtesy of Vista.

To dress the wound and keep it clean, here are some steps to follow when first bandaging your dog:

  1. Steady the dog

Keep your dog still by holding them still so they don’t move while you cut their fur. 

  1. Clip fur around injured area

Using dog safe clippers (electric clippers will work), trim the area around the wound, being careful to get as little hair as possible in the dog’s wounds.

  1. Wash with warm water

Rinse the debris and gunk out of the cut; this will flush out any hair that got caught in the wound from the shave as well.

  1. Non-stringent antiseptic solution 

This will help disinfect the wound—do NOT use any rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or witch hazel on the wound–this will eliminate any good bacteria that could potentially help heal it quicker.

  1. Antibacterial ointment

Apply the ointment directly to the wound, making sure to cover the whole thing. 

  1. Apply light bandage and change frequently

Apply gauze to the affected area. Using a cloth bandage, wrap the wound, covering the gauze. Use surgical tape or other means of securing a bandage  to finish dressing the wound.

  1. Clean wound two or three times a day

This will ensure the wound does not procure any infections. Do this until the wound is healed, or until your vet tells you otherwise.

More tips

Your dog’s health is a massive part of their wellbeing and care, so if they get a cut or scrape, you know not to reach for that Band-Aid.

For more tips on bandaging your dog, check out our 8 Steps to Bandaging Your Dog.

Questions? Email us >

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