Bandage care

Why has my pet got a bandage?

There are many reasons why your pet is wearing a bandage such as:


a)       To prevent a fracture from becoming more complicated.

b)       To prevent self trauma such as licking, scratching or biting.

c)       To prevent infection or further contamination.

d)       Holding wound dressing or compresses in place.


a)       To reduce pain & swelling.

b)       To improve mobility.

c)       Extra support for internal fixation of fractures.

Compression Bandages

a)       Post operatively to prevent excess swelling.

b)       To reduce haemorrhage (bleeding).

How long will the bandage stay on for?

Every pet is an individual therefore it is difficult to say how long their wound will take to heal.

If, for example, you pet has a cut pad, we would hope that the wound would be healed within 2 weeks, as long as there were no complications.

Why does the bandage need changing?

Bandages need to be changed every 2-3 days.  This allows us to check the degree of wound healing, notice infection and prevent sores from developing.

Dogs & cats sweat from their paws, so it is imperative that we do not allow them to become “cheesy” inside the bandage.  This would delay wound healing and increase the likelihood of sores, in turn increasing the length of time of bandaging and the expense.

Why should I restrict exercise?

If your pet has a bandage on their paw for a cut pad, it is very important that you restrict exercise.

Each time your pet places their paw on the ground, it leads to increased pressure on the wound.  This, in turn, will put increased pressure on the sutures within the wound and could lead to them bursting.

It would delay wound healing and may also mean another general anaesthetic and operation to re-suture the pad.

If your pet has a bandage due to a fracture repair, then restricting exercise is essential to allow the fracture to heal correctly.

Why should the bandage be kept dry?

The bandage needs to be kept dry to prevent the foot from becoming moist & “cheesy” inside the bandage. Wet bandages can increase the infection potential and delay wound healing.

A “drip bag” can be worn over the foot to prevent it from becoming wet – we will give you one on discharge but please ask for one if you require more. These are extra strong plastic bags and can stand up to being worn on the foot. Normal plastic bags will wear through very quickly, leading to the bandage getting wet.  Often a bandage can be very wet on the inside but appear dry on the outside, so ensuring the bandage does not get wet at all, is the best idea.  You can buy commercial dog or cat boots (made by Mikki) but these often do not stay on the foot well and can be expensive to buy.

The bags should only be worn when the dogs are outside.  Wearing them all the time can increase the heat inside the bandage and cause the foot to sweat.

How can I prevent my pet from destroying the bandage?

If your pet is likely to chew the bandage off, it would be advisable for them to wear a buster collar.  This is a “lampshade” which will prevent any interference from your pet.  You could also buy “Bitter Spray” which is a foul tasting liquid, which can prevent your pet from chewing the bandage.

How should I check my bandage?

Check the bandage daily for any signs of wear and tear or interference.  You should also check to see if the bandage has slipped.  Ensure that the bandage is not too tight at the top.

Chewing bandages should not be ignored as this can be a sign of pain or discomfort, such as the bandage is on too tight or foot has swollen.

When should I come back in?

A follow-up appointment will be made for you, after each bandage change.  This may be with a qualified nurse, unless the vet has specifically requested that he see your pet.

However, you should come back to the surgery if you notice any of the following signs:

§         Swelling.

§         Discharge.

§         Pain.

§         Unpleasant smell.

You should also come back to the surgery if:

§         The bandage has been chewed – a chewed hole in any part of the bandage can cause a swelling, pain or delay wound healing.

§         The bandage gets wet – see previous page.

§         The bandage slips – a slipped bandage will create pressure on the wrong part of the wound and may create sores.

§         Breathing or respiratory distress – head bandages can cause breathing difficulties, if they slip. You should contact the surgery immediately if this happens.

What should I do if the bandage comes off?

Do not try to replace the bandage with the material that has come off.  Cover the area with a clean sock or new bandage material – do not apply the bandage too tightly as this could lead to pressures sores and delay wound healing.

Contact us as soon as possible to arrange an appointment.

How to contact the Surgery

Please call the surgery if you require to be seen.  We have an appointment system and will arrange a convenient appointment, so you can be seen by either the vet or the qualified nurse.

Out with normal surgery hours, we have 24 hour emergency care.  Please phone the surgery to obtain the emergency mobile telephone number.

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Contact us

If you would like to contact us, please use the details below.

Emergencies Out of Hours Call 01324 815888