How to Apply a Basic Wound Dressing for Pets

Knowing how to apply a basic wound dressing can improve your pet’s overall health outcome. Read our list of pet first aid items to keep on-hand. Be sure that your pet first aid kit is with you and easy to access. Additionally, learn what else to do in a pet health emergency.

Remember, in a pet health emergency it is important to protect the safety of you and your pet. Slow breaths, using a soothing voice, and calm movements will help both you and your pet feel more at ease.

Recommended wound dressing supplies:

  • Non-adherent pads (such as telfa or gauze sponges)
  • Cast padding or long, narrow strips of cloth
  • Roll gauze
  • Cohesive bandage material (like Coban or Vet-Wrap), or first aid tape

You should be able to find most of these supplies at a local pet store.

Review our step-by-step wound dressing guide so you are confident in an emergency:

basic pet wound dressing step 1

Step 1

Apply a non-adherent pad such as telfa or gauze sponges to the wound. If the wound is actively bleeding apply direct pressure to the wound in an attempt to stop the bleeding.

DO NOT remove any blood soaked gauze or pads from the wound. If they soak through apply additional layers on top.

Basic pet wound dressing step 2

Step 2

Loosely wrap affected area with cast padding or long narrow strips of cloth.

Basic pet wound dressing step 3

Step 3

Apply a layer of roll gauze over the padding. This layer should be applied tightly but if you cannot pass a finger under the bandage it is too tight.

Basic pet wound dressing step 4

Step 4

Apply a layer of cohesive bandage material such as Coban or Vet-wrap or a loose layer of first aid tape over the gauze layer to complete the bandage.

Basic pet wound dressing step 5

Step 5

You should be able pass a finger underneath the top edge of the bandage. If you cannot it is too tight.


Step 6

Bring your pet in to your veterinarian for medical care.

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