How to treat a dog bite?

April 13, 2012

Dog bites happen to the best of us. A dog can bite when it doesn’t know who you are, if it is taken off guard, or when you try to help it when it is injured. It doesn’t matter how you got bitten by a dog, you need to treat the wound to prevent infection and scaring. A dog bite can be very painful and it is something that should never be ignored.

Treating Your Dog Bite

If you are bitten by a dog the first thing you need to do is clean the wound with soap and water. If the cut is very superficial you should treat it with hydrogen peroxide or alcohol. If it is deeper you will want to refrain from cleansing it with anything but soap and water until a doctor can give you the cleansing direction that you need.

The next thing you should do is put pressure on the wound to stop the bleeding. If you are able to, hold the wound above your heart. Most bites happen on the hand or arm and if you hold your arm over your heart it will help to stop the bleeding and allow you to get a good look at the wound to determine if you need professional help.

Next, place a clean bandage over the wounded area. At this point you will need to determine if you need professional help. If it doesn’t immediately look like it needs medical attention you should watch the area for increased redness, swelling, or red streaking. You will want to see a doctor immediately if you see any of these things or any discharge coming from the wound.

If you have not had a tetanus shot within the last five years you will need to have another one done. You should also determine if the dog has a current rabies vaccination. If the dog has not had their vaccinations they should be kept under observation for 15 days to watch for signs of the disease to determine if you need treatment for a rabies infection.

If your bite is not serious you will find that it will heal up quickly. If you keep it clean and you watch it closely for infection, a dog bite doesn’t need to be anything that will leave a scar. If you aren’t sure whether or not it needs stitches or professional care, you should see a doctor just to be sure that you do not need stitches or antibiotics to avoid infection.

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