Homemade Tips for Keeping a Dog From Licking an Incision

Updated July 20, 2017

Dogs naturally lick wounds in an attempt to clean and heal them. However, this is not always a good thing and sometimes dogs make wounds worse without realising. If wounds are deep, take your dog to a vet to get treatment. If the wound is minor, clean the area and monitor the healing process. If the wound does not heal, take precautions to make sure your dog does not lick the incision and make it worse.

Wrap the Incision

Stop a dog licking an incision by wrapping it with a bandage and securing with tape. Any bandage from a home first aid kit will work; just make sure it is clean. Ensure the bandage is not too tight, as it will irritate the dog, making it more likely that the dog to try and pull it off. Monitor the dog to check that the bandage stays on. If it does not you will have to try alternative methods.

Apply a Homemade Repellent to Bandages

Many owners experience problems with dogs and bandages. You need bandages on the incision to stop the dog licking the wound. However, some dogs constantly keep pulling them off. According to Vet Info, dogs are less likely to lick wounds or incisions if you apply something that smells or tastes unpleasant to the bandage protecting it. Many vets supply topical products which are foul smelling and tasting sprays to add to a bandage. However, you could try a small amount of lemon juice in a spray bottle, cayenne pepper or hot sauce. Ensure that when you apply the repellent that you do not touch the actual wound as it may cause your dog pain. According to Pet Health Care, the dog will not like the taste of the bitter bandages and will stay away from the wound.

Make an Elizabethan Collar

Elizabethan collars or e-collars are large plastic cones that are placed around a dog's head. The dog's movement is restricted so it cannot lick wounds or pull off bandages. Make your own with a plastic sheet by cutting it into a curve. The curve should be bigger at the top and smaller at the bottom so that when you fold the plastic, it makes a cone. Secure the cone with tape and check that there are no sharp edges. Ensue the cone fits round the dog's head securely but not tightly. You do not want it to be too small and uncomfortable for the dog.

Cover with a T-shirt

If the dog's wound is on its stomach or main body, put the dog in a T-shirt. Although this may look funny, it will prevent your dog from being able to reach the incision. According to Vet Info, dogs find T-shirts comfortable to wear and react better to them than bandages.

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About the Author

Kaytie Louise Wilson graduated from the University of Manchester with a bachelor's degree in sociology. She then went on to pursue a master's degree in journalism at the same institution. Wilson has been a freelance writer since 2009 and has worked at several publications including "The Manchester Evening News," "Heat Magazine" and "Cavendish Press."