How to Wrap a Dressing Around a Dog's Leg

Written by tammy domeier
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How to Wrap a Dressing Around a Dog's Leg
Wrapping a dressing around a dog's leg may be necessary to prevent infection or stabilise a fracture. (perro image by Pepmiba from

Dressings or bandages often are used in wound care to promote circulation and prevent infection to a wound. You must change dressings often to allow drainage of fluids and apply fresh ointment. You also may need to apply a dressing or bandage to stabilise a fracture temporarily if you are far from home and you cannot get the dog to the veterinarian immediately. It is a good idea to have a first aid kit for your dog and to take it with you when travelling with your dog.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Gauze pads
  • Rolls of cotton and gauze
  • Adhesive tape
  • Ointment (if needed)
  • Household sticky tape

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  1. 1

    Wash your hands and cleanse the edges of the wound, if present, with a damp piece of gauze. Irrigate the wound with clean tap water. Clean older wounds that have scabbed over with antibacterial soap and blot dry. After cleansing the wound, apply the appropriate ointment as directed by your veterinarian and place several sterile gauze pads over the wound.

  2. 2

    Wrap two layers of cotton roll around the leg. If you are using the bandage to stabilise a fracture, you must include the joint above and below the fracture. If the fracture is in the humerus or femur, do not bandage as it can make the fracture worse.

  3. 3

    Place two layers of stretch gauze over the roll cotton. Make sure it is snug but not overly tight or it might impede circulation.

  4. 4

    Wrap two layers of first aid adhesive tape around the leg but be careful so that the tape does not stick to the hair. Flex the knee and foot several times to ensure that the bandage is not too tight.

  5. 5

    Tape one layer of household sticky tape on the top of the bandage to secure it to the dog.

  6. 6

    Check the bandage every few hours to be sure that it is not impeding circulation from being too tight. Loosen the bandage if there is any swelling at the edge of the bandage.

Tips and warnings

  • If you do not have any bandages available, use strips of clean sheets, towels and clothing cut or torn to the right size.
  • When taking the dog outside, place a small garbage bag or bread bag over the bandage to keep the dog from urinating on it and to protect it from the elements.
  • If you notice any redness, chafing or foul odours, contact the veterinarian immediately.

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