The GOLD STANDARD IN rehabilitation treatments and wellness programmes for dogs

Bandaging For First Aid

When applying a bandage you are applying it to control the bleeding. On arrival at your vet practice or the emergency vets they will remove it to assess the situation. This is not at all about demonstrating perfect bandaging techniques, it’s about being able to apply a bandage to do the job that it’s intended for.

It’s important you understand the different bandages which are available, what they are used for and how to apply them safely. From this guide you should be able to choose the correct type of bandage and size for the job.

Types of bandages

Bandages are put together into layers:

  1. Contact or primary layer is the dressing that you place directly onto the wound. These dressings come in different sizes and usually have a shiny side which is normally applied onto the wound. These are normally known as Melolin pads or Zorbopads.
  2. Absorbent or secondary layer is a padding layer to prevent the wound from being bandaged too tightly and absorbs excess fluid from the wound. These paddings are often called Soffban or Orthoban pads.
  3. Conforming layer has an elastic compound which contours easily to allow for movement. In the UK these layers are known as Knitfix, WOW, Knit firm or Vet band.
  4. Support / Outer layer is a cohesive bandage that clings to itself but not the dog’s skin or fur and serves as the outer protective layer. We recommend petflex or Vetwrap.

Top tips for first aid bandaging

  • Wash your hands first
  • Gather the bandaging materials including scissors in an easy to reach place
  • If bandaging the lower limb include the foot so that you prevent swelling
  • If bandaging extremities start from the toes to prevent pocketing of blood
  • Unroll a small amount of bandage at a time as this allows for tension to be applied
  • Apply the bandage firmly in a spiral direction, overlapping 1/2 to 2/3 at any one time
  • Take care not to apply bandaging too tightly (but tight enough to perform its job and not fall off)
  • Avoid sticking bandages to the dog’s skin or fur
  • Choose your bandage carefully for job, width and size