Ask Seth: Dog Bandages

Why do I have to keep my dog's bandage dry and what would happen if it got wet? Can I change it?

Pet bandages serve to keep a wound clean and dry. They also help protect or stabilize and area to provide support. Moist, dirty, and/or wet wounds are more susceptible to infection, and delays proper healing. If the bandage gets wet, it actually holds moisture against the wound, providing an ideal environment for the growth of bacteria. If a bandage gets wet, call your vet immediately to schedule a bandage change. One key tip for when you have a dog with a bandage, ask your vet for an old IV bag. This can be used to cover the bandage when the patient goes outdoors. Remember that the grass is usually moist first thing in the morning, so use this to help keep the bandage dry. This is for temporary use only, because it doesn’t allow the bandage to breathe and the bag actually holds paw sweat (pets' feet do sweat) inside the bandage, making it wet. Bandages should only be placed by an experienced person. It is a delicate balance between the having the bandage tight enough to stay on, yet loose enough not to interrupt the blood flow of the limb. If your pets toes look swollen with the bandage on call your vet immediately. Do not delay. This is an indication of blood flow being affected.

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