What to Do When a Dog Bites

A dog bite can cause a serious injury that does lasting damage. Whether a dog bites someone intentionally, or during rough play, the mark left behind can be severe. Anyone that experiences a dog bite needs to be aware of the right treatment so they can heal their injury as quick as possible.

What to Do When a Dog Bites

Many people might wonder what to do when a dog bites. Although a bite is a common occurrence, it most often happens to young children. This can leave parents in a panic when the situation arrises. The first step is to clean the wound. It is best to wash the bite with soap and water. This decreases the chance for infection. You may need to hold a towel over the wound to soak up any blood that was drawn. A severe bite can result in a lot of blood loss. After the wound is bandaged, it is best to head to the hospital and let a doctor evaluate the wound and check for signs of infection.

What to Do When a Dog Bites

Signs of Infection from a Dog Bite

Infection can quickly spread after a bite. Dogs that are not vaccinated or up to date on their shots have a higher chance of spreading infection through their bite. The main signs of infection include pus coming from the wound, severe redness, warmth around the wound, and swelling of the area. A doctor needs to treat the wound in this case, and provide a prescription for antibiotics. If the person who was bitten heads to the hospital right away, the doctor will help monitor for signs of infection and start the round of antibiotics immediately.

Level of Severity for Dog Bite Injuries

There is a huge difference in the level of severity for dog bite injuries. Some dogs may bite while playing, leaving only a small mark behind. There may not even be any sign of blood drawn. This type of bite can be treated easily at home, simply by cleaning the wound and covering it with a bandaid. Many people will not see the doctor for this small bite. It is important to realize though that even the smallest bite can cause infection, especially if the dog was not up to date on their immunizations. If the dog belongs to the family or friends of the person who was bit, then they should know the answer to this question. If the dog was unfamiliar, the bite should still get examined by a doctor just to be sure it did not spread an infection.

A severe bite by a dog means a bleeding, open wound. Bites of this nature may require stitches to close the wound and allow it to heal properly. Bites around the arms or legs are typically easier to treat, while bites on the face are more difficult. Any large wound of this nature needs immediate evaluation by a doctor.

Keep the Area Elevated

One of the best things to do after a bite is to keep the area elevated. This is to help stop the bleeding. Piling pillows beneath the area and resting on a couch or chair is a great way to keep the spot raised and prevent the blood from flowing.

Use Antibiotics

The bite will most likely require antibiotics. This will fight off any infection that should occur. Most doctors will prescribe an antibiotic ointment or cream that needs to be applied directly to the wound. It may sting, but it will do its job. 7 to 14 days is typically the recommended time frame for using the antibiotics.

Rabies Vaccine

Rabies is a common disease that plagues animals, including dogs. It can be spread to a human through a bite. If the status of the dog is unknown, the doctor will recommend a rabies vaccine to help fight off the disease. If the dog is up to date on their rabies vaccination, then the person bitten will not need this.

Tetanus Shot

A tetanus shot is typically administered to children. If someone gets bitten who is not up to date on this shot, then the doctor will recommend getting one. This shot prevents bacterial infections. With a dose of this in their system, the person who got bit should be safe from the effects of the infection, which could lead to severe pain in the muscles and uncontrollable spasms.

Finding the right dog bite treatment depends on the severity of the dog bite. Many bites are small and do not draw blood, meaning they can easily get cleaned up at home. Others are much more severe, requiring immediate medical attention. In either case, it is important for people to understand the course of action needed and begin treatment immediately to prevent long-lasting damage.