Bandaging

April 12, 2012

Pet owners can never be too careful… accidents still happen to the beloved pets. It would be fortunate if a veterinary facility is nearby as appropriate medical attention will be given to the injured pet at once. But if you have taken the dog hiking or camping and an accident happened, it pays to know what must be done to help the pet. Bleeding must be stemmed and fractures stabilized. These are temporary but nonetheless very important measures that can mean saving the life of the pet until a vet can be reached.

Bandaging an injured dog can be a daunting task for most pet owners. Obviously, adhesive bandages will not do for our furry friends. Another concern is that the dog may not want to keep the bandage. The dog would pull and bite in an effort to remove the bandage. The following are tips on how to bandage the injured dog easily:

Head

Head wounds bleed profusely. A head wrap is necessary to stop the bleeding.

  • A head wrap would need long bandages. If none is available. A sheet can be torn into long bandages.
  • Wrap the head completely with the bandage making sure that the ears are pinned to the head.
  • Eyes must not be covered as this will increase the fear of the pet
  • Tape the edges of the bandage making sure that the hair is included. This will prevent the bandage from slipping.
  • Insert two fingers inside the bandage to make sure that it is not too tight. This will also ensure that too much pressure is not placed on the dog’s windpipe. A tight bandage can cut off the blood circulation.
  • Check the dog frequently. If there is a sign of face swelling or if the dog has breathing difficulties, remove the bandage at once.

Leg

Leg bandages are often done to reduce bleeding from a leg wound. It is also used to stabilize a fracture.

  • To stop the bleeding from a wound, cover the wound with a gauze pad and wrap the leg with several layers of bandage. Secure the ends of the bandage with adhesive tape making sure that the hair is included. This will prevent the bandage from slipping.
  • If the bandage is to stabilize a fracture, use several layers of cotton roll around the leg making sure that the joint above and below the fracture is included.
  • Wrap the cotton roll with stretch gauze. This will stabilize and compress the cotton roll. A snug bandage is necessary to reduce the pain. However, the bandage must not be wrapped too tight to cut off circulation.
  • Include the hair in securing the bandage with adhesive tape to make sure that the bandage will not slip.
  • Check the bandaged leg every now and then. Swelling or coldness on the toes means that circulation is disrupted. If this is noticed, remove the bandage at once.

Splint

Fractured bones below the elbows must be supported with splints. Splints are only best for front legs. Due to the normal position of the rear legs, applying splints must be done with care so as not to cause more harm.

  • Wrap several layers of cotton wool around the leg to stabilize the fracture.
  • Use a flat metal or stick on both sides of the leg. A rolled newspaper is an alternative if no stick is available. Secure the splint to the leg with sticky tape.
  • Use elastic bandage to cover the splint and the bandage. Secure the bandage by wrapping a layer of sticky tape around the bandage including the hair of the dog. This will prevent the bandage from slipping.

Ear wounds

Ear wounds are often sustained by the dog during dog fights. Ear wounds bleed profusely. The pain causes the dog to continuously shake the head preventing the blood from clotting. Bandaging the ear wound is necessary to stem the flow of blood.

  • Clean the ear wound. Remove dirt particles and hair from the wounded area. Apply disinfectant.
  • Bandage the wounded ear. The ear must be secured to the head to prevent further bleeding when the dog shakes the head.
  • Plenty of bandage materials will be needed as the wounded ears must be secured to the head of the dog.
  • Wind the bandage several times around the head of the dog making sure that the bandaged ear is secure.
  • Take care not to wind the bandage around the dog’s head too tight. Use the two finger test to check if the bandage is snug but not too tight.

Tail

The tail is oftentimes the hardest part of a dog’s body to bandage. A bandage that is not done the correct way would constantly slip-off due the dog’s inherent behavior of wagging its tail. Tail bandaging however, is necessary when the tail is wounded. Bandaging is also necessary if a surgical procedure is done on the dog’s tail. Whether post operative or wounded. A tail should be bandaged to avoid the splattering of blood every time the tail is wagged. Bandaging will also prevent infection.

  • Clean the injured part of the tail. You may need to trim the hair in the injured area
  • Cover the wound with absorbent gauze pad. A layer or two of cotton gauze wrapped around the tail would stabilize the dressing on the wound.
  • Secure the bandage with adhesive tape. A layer of adhesive tape should do it but be sure to include some tail hair. This will serve as an anchor and prevent the bandage from slipping when the dog wags its tail.

Spiral binding method

This is most commonly used on dogs with bushy tails where using adhesive tape can be difficult.

  • Roll the bandage from the base (point A) to the tip of the tail (point B) and return again to the base (point A). Wrap the bandage around the tail in a crisscrossing pattern from point A to point B and back again to point A, incorporating hair with each revolution will prevent the bandage from slipping. A reef knot will secure the ends of the bandage.

Plastic syringe case method

This method is used on dogs with short or stumpy tails.

  • Cut or pierce the end of the plastic syringe case for ventilation.
  • Insert the dressed tail of the dog to the plastic case
  • Anchor the case by using an adhesive tape. Include strands of tail hair with each revolution of the tape.

Bandage care

Obviously, dogs can not take care of their injuries. It would be up to the pet owner to ensure that the bandage is not too tight and is still at the right place. A dog that does not want to be encumbered by a bandage will chew, pull and bite. This can be avoided by spraying the bandage with bitter apple. Another option is to let the dog wear an Elizabethan collar.

The bandage must be kept dry and clean. An empty plastic bread bag will keep the bandage dry. Even if the ground is dry, the pet may wet the bandage when it urinates. The plastic however, must not be left on the leg of the dog for a long time. Aside from suffocating the leg it will create a sweat wrap that will wet the bandage.

Check the bandage often. Dogs are naturally active and agile. The bandage can slip. This is most common when the bandaged area is narrower on one end. If the bandage slipped, it can abrade or chaff the wound. Change the bandage if this happens.

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