A Dog Bit You? What You Need to Know!
18 May, 2016
As any pet owner knows, we do our best to take care of our dogs and also make sure they are well behaved. However, sometimes a dog is scared or surprised and bites you before you can prevent it from happening. If this does happen to you, there are immediate steps you can take at home.
If the wound is serious, you should definitely call and schedule an appointment with your doctor. Some states, depending on their laws, require you to go to the emergency room immediately to take care of the wound and not a physician.
If you do have the unfortunate occurrence of being bit by a dog, below are some things to first consider:
1) If you are not the owner of the dog, try to find out if the dog that bit you is up to date on all his or her vaccinations, especially rabies.
2) How is your health? Do you have diabetes, liver disease, or any other illnesses that affects the immune system? If so, you should see your doctor immediately.
Dog Bite Treatment
Although you should treat yourself immediately at home for a dog bite, you should really see a doctor if an unfamiliar dog bit you, the bite is deep, you can’t stop the bleeding, or if there are any signs of infection (redness, swelling, warmth, pus). Sometimes, dog bites can cause infections that need to be treated with antibiotics.
If you just got a dog bite, make sure to do the following at home:
Put clean towel over the bite to stop any bleeding; wash the bite carefully with soap and water. Then, apply antibiotic ointment to the area and cover the area with a sterile bandage. You should apply the antibiotic ointment every day until the bite heals to prevent infection.
Your doctor will make sure there isn’t any damage
Your doctor will examine the bite to see whether it was deep enough to damage muscles, tendons, nerves, or bones. Then the doctor will thoroughly clean the bite wound to remove any dirt or bacteria, and may also remove dead tissues from the wound.
If the dog’s health is unknown or if the dog tests positive for rabies, you will need to get a rabies vaccine. You might also need a tetanus shot if the bite is deep.
Stitches are sometimes used for dog bites
Sometimes stitches are needed to close a dog bite wound. Although stitching the injury can reduce scarring, it also can increase the risk of infection. Whether the injury is closed may depend on its location of the bite. If a dog bites your face, the area might be sutured to prevent visible scars.
Antibiotics are sometimes necessary for a dog bite
You may need to take antibiotics for seven to fourteen days to prevent or treat an infection. The doctor may ask you to come back in one to three days to have the injury checked if it is a bad bite.
Tips to Prevent a Dog Bite from Occurring
1) Stay away from any dogs you don’t know.
2) Never leave young children alone with a dog — especially a dog that you don’t know.
3) Don’t try to play with any dog that is eating or feeding her puppies.
4) Whenever you approach a dog, do so slowly and give the dog the chance to approach you.
5) If a dog becomes aggressive, don’t run away or scream. Stay calm, move slowly, and don’t make eye contact with the dog.