How to Stop a Dog From Chewing a Bandage?
Your dog's surgery went well, but now you are stuck figuring out how to stop a dog from chewing a bandage. First of all, an important clarification: when dogs chew on a bandage, they aren't really trying to give you trouble, they are just acting out of instinct. Just like they will snap at a bug crawling on them, they will want to remove the bandage from their bodies because they sense it as something foreign that doesn't belong there.
How to Stop a Dog From Chewing a Bandage?
To stop a dog from chewing a bandage you have several options, but not all of them are pleasant for your dog, but they will at least help keep the bandage in place and your dog safe from messing with a wound and potentially swallowing parts of the bandage. A bandage in such cases can become more of a hindrance than a benefit if it isn't cared for properly. Here are several options that you can try, but it's important to supervise your dog to play it safe.
First, Check With Your Vet
If your dog is lately particularly determined in removing the bandage, you may want to contact your vet to play it safe. Your vet can give you options, but most of all, may want to be informed on excessive chewing considering that sometimes dogs fuss at a bandage because their wound/incision is particularly damp, itchy, irritated or even infected. In other cases, the dog may be chewing the bandage because it is uncomfortable and may have twisted.
You may also want to keep your vet informed about what strategies you're planning on using to try to get your dog from chewing the bandage. He or she may or may not approve them and may provide other suggestions.
You can try to keep your dog's mind off the bandage by offering your dog alternative things to chew/lick, although once he is done working on these things, his mind might switch off to the bandage again.
Ideas that come to mind are offering a stuffed Kong, a "Licki Mat" or a "snuffle mat." There are several other food puzzles that can help keep your dog mentally stimulated and distracted. Check with your vet if these activities are OK if you must restrict your dog's activity.
Bad Tasting Sprays
There are several bad tasting sprays on the market, specifically made for dogs who tend to chew things they shouldn't. Now it's important to point out, that not all dogs respond to taste deterrents, some dogs may care less and some even seem to like the taste of them! So you will need to experiment and see how your dog responds.
Two popular products are Grannick's Bitter Apple Spray and NaturVet Bitter Yuck. There are of course several other brands. Most bad tasting sprays come in the following flavors; bitter apple, bitter cherry, bitter orange and sour lemon. The bandage can therefore be sprayed with these products, but make sure not to saturate it and if you have any doubts, ask your vet or call the manufacturing company.
Out of Sight Out of Mind
Some dog owners have success covering the bandage with something such as sock if the bandage is on the foot or an old T- shirt or pair of men's boxers if the bandage is on the dog's chest, side or back area. However, dogs can remove such items and some dogs are notorious for eating and swallowing things so this can cause more problems.
The Cone of Shame
If your dog is very determined to chew the bandage, you may find the cone of shame the most effective product. Your dog won't likely like it, but it's important to keep your dog's safety in mind for a swift recovery.
Nowadays, there are different types of Elizabethan collars on the market. There are softer versions for your dog's comfort, but often the ones provided by your vet work best as they are customized for your dog's size. If your vet hasn't provided one for you, you can get one at any well-stocked pet store.
A basket muzzle is a special type of muzzle that allows the dog to breathe, pant, drink water and even take treats through the holes. Of course, supervise your dog while wearing it to play it safe. With the muzzle on, your dog will find it hard to chew on the bandage, but he may act subdued if he hasn't been conditioned to wearing it.
Disclaimer: this article is not meant to be used as a substitute for professional veterinary advice. If your dog is chewing his bandage, consult with your vet.