How to Wrap a Dog's Paw so the Dressing Won't Come Off

By Catherine Holden Robinson

For a dog, going outside is a must, but a look at his feet when he returns is a sure sign that he doesn't always watch where he steps. Your pal Pete can drag in a plethora of unsightly things, and occasionally, he may step in something that causes damage to one of his paws. Vet care may be in order, but aftercare, and learning how to dress his paw, is often up to you.

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Assess the wound. If the wound is new, and your dog has not been examined by a veterinarian, make sure it isn't bleeding more than a minimal amount. A wound with moderate or severe bleeding needs to be assessed by a veterinarian.

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Clean the wound once you've determined it can be managed at home, or follow your veterinarian's instructions for changing the dressing if you've already obtained veterinary care for your dog. Use Betadine to clean the area around the wound, taking care not to get the solution on the wound itself. The Betadine should be diluted to the color of weak tea.

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Rinse the wound with tap water from the bottle. You can use an empty saline spray bottle that has been rinsed well if you have one on hand. Regular tap water is fine to rinse the wound.

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Squeeze a small amount of the antibiotic cream onto a sterile gauze pad, unless your veterinarian has advised you to use another product, or no product at all on the wound. If the wound is on the pad of your dog's foot, use a sterile gauze pad. If the wound is between your dog's toes, use a cotton ball with the antibiotic cream applied.

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Gently place the pad or cotton ball on the wound. If you're using cotton, place a gauze pad over the cotton ball. Secure this with a couple of strips of tape. It will be easier to apply the self adhesive wrap if the gauze is held in place.

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Wrap the area with the self adhesive tape, making sure not to wrap the paw too tightly. Check the area around the bandage frequently. If the area around the bandage is cool or swollen, the bandage may be too tight and circulation may be impaired. Impaired circulation can cause serious injury, so if the dressing is too tight, correct this immediately. To minimize the amount of self adhesive tape required to cover the gauze bandage, use a sock or the leg of a pair of tights, but make sure these items are clean. Carefully slide the sock or tights over the bandage, and secure with a lesser amount of the self adhesive tape.

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Protect the dressing when your dog needs to be outside by covering the area with a plastic bag and securing it with the self adhesive, first aid or cloth tape. Remove the plastic bag once your dog returns from his outside business. Provide additional protection to the area by making sure your dog isn't chewing at it. Use a bitter spray or distract him with a dog toy, such as a treat-filled chew toy. In extreme cases, if your dog won't leave the area alone, he may need to be fitted with an Elizabethan collar.

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Change the adhesive tape and gauze daily, or as directed by your veterinarian. If the gauze is soiled by excess blood or pus, contact your veterinarian. A return trip for additional medical care may be in order.