Dog Bites
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Dog Bites


See below this article for more dog bite related information.

Even small dog bites can cause serious infections because of the myriad of different bacteria and other malicious micro organisms that can be transferred from the mouth of the dog into the blood stream of the victim. Two of the most dreaded diseases associated with dog bites are rabies and tetanus. The risk of contracting rabies and tetanus, as well as the risk of developing other infections in the wound, will decrease if you promptly clean out the wound using soap and plenty of running water. Immunization against rabies and tetanus work even if the shots are administered after a bite, but time is naturally a factor here. A majority of the other infections than may develop in dog bites can be treated using antibiotics. In many cases, the doctor will prescribe prophylactic antibiotics to avoid an infection from developing in the first place.  

  • Bring the victim to safety and prevent further attacks from the dog.
  • Try to calm the victim. Dog bites can be really frightening, even when the teeth do not even pierce the skin. Being attacked by a dog can easily make a person panic and calming the victim is therefore of vital importance.
  • Wash your own hands with soap and water before you start tending to the wound of the victim (It is also important to wash your hands thoroughly afterwards).
  • If the wound is bleeding, use a piece of clean cloth to apply pressure. (If the wound is not bleeding, you can proceed to step 5.) If possible, elevate the bitten area to make the bleeding less profuse. In most cases, dog bites are quite small, but in severe cases not only the skin but also the flesh can have been seriously damaged and profuse bleeding can occur. 
  • When the bite is no longer bleeding a lot, use mild soap and running water to gently, but thoroughly, clean the wound and the surrounding area. The wound should be rinsed for at least 3 minutes. Use a clean dressing to cover the bite. The dressing should not be water proof; it must allow the wound to breathe. If the wound is small and shallow, and you do not plan to seek medical attention, you can apply antibiotic ointment to prevent an infection.
  • Never try to catch a dog yourself if you suspect it to be rabid. Never try to catch a dog that is not your dog, since irresponsible dog owners sometimes encourage their dogs to attack people. The best course of action is to call the police and ask them for advice. In regions where the police do not handle dog issues themselves, they will still be able to direct you to the proper authorities.
  • Even in cases where you decide not to seek immediate medical attention, you should always notify the local animal control authorities. A dog that bites people may do so because of illness and a veterinarian should always take a look at the dog after an incident.

Always seek medical attention:

  • When dog bites are deep, or large or you find it difficult to make the bleeding stop.
  • When dog bites are located on hands, head, face or genital organs.
  • When you suspect the dog to be rapid or carry any other disease.  
  • When the victim has not received a tetanus shot during the last 5 years.
  • When dog bites show signs of infection, e.g. swelling, pus draining, red skin and/or pain. Pay special attention to the wound during the initial 48 hours after the attack.
  • When the victim was bitten by an unknown dog or by a stray dog.
  • When you suspect that the wound may need stitches or taping. Keep in mind that dog bites can cause unsightly scars.  

Dog Bite Articles

Child Dog Bite - An article about what to do if your child get bitten by a dog.
Dog Bite Infection - An article about infections in dog bites.
Dog Bite Injury - An article about how to treat dog bite injuries.
Dog Bite Law - An article about the legal aspects of dog bites.
Dog Bite Lawyer - An article about dog bite lawyers and how to find one.
Insect Bite on Dog - An article about insect bites on dogs and how to treat them.
Snake Bites in Dogs - An article about snake bites in dogs and how to treat them.
Why Dogs Bite - An article about why some dogs bite.