Dog Bite Treatment

With more than four million dog bites annually, you should learn about dog bite treatment. Even if you don't own a dog, you could always run into one jogging in the park, walking down the street or in dog-friendly establishments. It's especially vital to learn how to treat dog bites if you have children, as children receive the majority of dog bites.

What to do for basic dog bites.
Even if a dog bites doesn't break the skin, you should still wash the area thoroughly with soap and water and observe it for a few days. If you see any signs of irritation, swelling or redness, you should apply a disinfectant and consider seeking medical help if the condition worsens. Even with a basic dog bite, you should get the dog's owner's name and contact information in case you need to follow up.

How to treat dog bites that break the skin.
If a dog bite breaks the skin but isn't bleeding profusely, wash it thoroughly with soap and water and use a disinfectant to prevent infection. When dog bites break the skin, check with the owner to make sure the dog is up-to-date on vaccinations, including rabies. Make sure the dog is closely monitored for fifteen days for signs of rabies and go to the hospital immediately if the dog displays any sign of rabies. Even if the dog is fully vaccinated, you might still want a tetanus booster.

How to stop bleeding that accompanies dog bites.
If your dog bite bleeds severely, you should try to stop the bleeding and go to a hospital for medical treatment. Apply a clean compress to the area with plenty of pressure, or tie a bandage tightly around the limb if you're bitten in the arm or leg. If possible, hold the wound above your heart to slow blood flow. Dog bites that are bleeding profusely may require medical attention, so make your way to the nearest emergency room to determine the severity of the dog bite.

Go to the emergency room for severe dog bites.
For dog bites involving the head or neck, or multiple dog bites, seek medical attention immediately. Dog bites in these areas tend to be severe, and may require medical attention ranging from stitches and disinfectant to potential surgery, depending on where the dog bites occur and how deep they are.

In the event of multiple dog bites or significant blood loss, shock is another consideration. In addition to slowing the bleeding, a victim of multiple bites or high blood loss should be kept warm and should not attempt to drive him- or herself to the hospital. It is possible to lose consciousness following severe dog bites and blood loss, so victims should take an ambulance or get a ride to the nearest emergency room.

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