How to Treat A Dog Bite

Every year, over 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs.  Although the CDC estimates that this number may be low, because many victims do not seek medical care for all dog bites.  There are many reasons why a bite may occur, although most stem from improper handling or training of the dog.  Kids are especially at risk of being bitten or nipped, because of the way they play with and handle dogs.  So what do you do if someone around you is bitten?  This is how to treat a dog bite.

How to Treat A Dog BiteFirstly, the victim of the bite needs to be separated from the dog and taken to a safe place to prevent any further bites or injury.  Wounds should be kept elevated, and should be washed with a sterile solution.  Use pressure to stop the bleeding. Rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide will disinfect the wound, and then bandage it with some antibiotic ointment to prevent infection. If the bite is very bad and bleeds excessively or shows tearing, you should seek immediate medical attention.  Dogs have rounded teeth that can cause puncture wound damage to muscles deep in the skin, and it may not be apparent initially.  Also, if you notice any redness or swelling, this is a certain sign of infection for which you need antibiotics from your doctor.

When you visit the doctor, be prepared to answer a few questions, like:

  • Do you know the owner of the dog?
  • Does the dog have and is up to date on all vaccinations, including rabies?
  • Did the bite occur because the dog was provoked, or did the dog attack?
  • What health conditions do you have? People with diabetesliver disease, illnesses that suppress the immune system, and other health conditions may be at greater risk for a more severe infection.