Getting a dog bite whether from playing with your dog or from a stray or unfriendly dog can be traumatic. Canine teeth can do damage. Similar damage can occur if you get a major cut from an object or a fall. One of the biggest immediate risks is infection. Here are steps you need to take immediately.
1. Stop the bleeding
First and foremost, you’ll want to stop the put clean towel over the injury and apply pressure by pushing directly on it with both hands, to stop the bleeding. While bleeding does help clean the wound, and therefore has a purpose, you’ll want to ensure it doesn’t bleed too much as the injured person could get lightheaded or nauseous. Too much bleeding can cause the person to go into shock.
2. Clean the wound
What mom always told you to do is still a number one priority. Keep the wound clean as animal bites or other sharp objects can transmit bacteria and cause infection. Roughly 50 percent of dog bites introduce bacteria. Washing the bite or laceration with simple soap and warm water will usually do the trick.
3. Apply antibiotic ointment and sterile band-aid
Keep the wound bandaged to stay as clean as possible. Signs of infection include redness, swelling, increased pain and fever.
4. Check for rabies, tetanus shot
If the dog is unknown and you can’t contact the owner about whether the dog has a rabies shot, contact animal control to capture the dog and call 911. You’ll need to begin rabies vaccinations as soon as possible. If the owner is present, share names and contact numbers so you can get proof of rabies vaccination. Check with the dog’s vet to see if the rabies vaccination is up to date. You should also make sure you are up to date on your tetanus shot.
5. See a Doctor
To make sure you don’t get an infection, you should see a doctor within a few hours. If you have diabetes or another condition that compromises your immune system, you have an even greater risk of infection. If the bite or cut is deep and doesn’t stop bleeding you may have to get stitches. Generally, dog bite wounds are left open to heal. If the bite or cut is to your face or particularly deep, stitches are often used.
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