How to Get a Dog to Leave a Bandaged Paw Alone

by Tom Ryan
    He won't thank you for photographing him like this.

    He won't thank you for photographing him like this.

    Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images

    Dogs don't really appreciate modern medicine. To your little buddy, no antibiotics are as effective as a few good licks on a wound. If he won't leave a bandaged paw alone, you're going to have to bring out the big guns -- and yes, that might mean the cone.

    Step 1

    Avoid the Elizabethan collar, or "the cone," if you can -- some dogs are humiliated by it to the point of lethargy. There are different types of name-brand accessories you can use to keep your dog from licking his bandaged paw instead, most of which are a type of outer bandage that has an unappealing taste or texture. These self-adhering strips simply wrap around the bandage, and in some cases administer a negligible, painless static shock that creates a foul taste in your dog's mouth, discouraging him from licking the bandaged paw. Strips like these may lose their effectiveness in damp environments, though, so they aren't always a good fit for every dog.

    Step 2

    Invest in an Elizabethan collar. This is the plastic cone that goes around your dog's neck, both preventing him from accessing his paw and utterly demoralizing him. Unfortunately for him, dogs learn from consistent repetition over time, so simply scolding him every time he bothers his paw won't work -- all it takes is a few minutes to rip off a bandage and yank out his stitches with his teeth. The cone is the only guarantee.

    Step 3

    Choose a cone that extends 1 inch past the tip of your dog's snout, but not much further, if any further at all. The cone should be wider at the opening than your dog's food and water dishes, or else he won't be able to access them with the cone on.

    Step 4

    Leave the cone on until the bandages come off and the paw is healed. Don't be a sucker for his sad, humiliated looks. After a day or two, he'll be used to it.

    Items You Will Need

    • Anti-licking outer bandages
    • Elizabethan collar


    • Use an Elizabethan collar that is hard plastic, not soft. While soft collars are appropriate for backside or stomach wounds, your dog can easily navigate around one to reach his bandaged paw.
    • You may have to elevate your dog's food and water bowls so that he can reach them with the collar on.


    • Don't attempt a DIY deterrent to bandage licking, like rubbing hot sauce on it -- it could soak through and irritate the wound.

    Photo Credits

    • Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

    Trending Dog Behavior Articles

    Have a question? Get an answer from a Vet now!