How to Treat Dog Bites

Written by alyson paige
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Dog bites can be serious and treatment depends upon the severity of the bite. Always find out if the dog has up-to-date rabies vaccinations. Basic first aid can be given at home, however it is possible that the victim may need medical attention. In the case of children, see your doctor as the child may need antibiotics. Above all, don't panic.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Rabies vaccination records
  • Warm water
  • Soap
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Bandages

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  1. 1

    Remove the animal or yourself and call your vet for helpful information. Determine if the dog has had recent rabies vaccinations. Contact the dog's owner or call Animal Control, if necessary.

  2. 2

    Stop any bleeding by applying pressure to the wound with a clean cloth or towel.

  3. 3

    Wash the wound under warm running water for approximately 5 minutes. Use soap and thoroughly rinse soap from the area. Residual soap can cause infection.

  4. 4

    Apply antibiotic ointment to the bite. Cover with a bandage. For deeper wounds, use butterfly bandages. Dog bites can be painful so if acetaminophen is tolerated, it can alleviate the pain.

  5. 5

    Call your doctor to determine if she wants to schedule an appointment to have the bite examined.

  6. 6

    Watch the affected area for swelling, redness or drainage. If any of these occur, call your doctor.

  7. 7

    If your dog is the biter, contact an animal trainer or your veterinarian for advice. It is important to train a biting dog as soon as possible. Never strike your dog.

Tips and warnings

  • Call your doctor to determine if the bite victim needs a tetanus shot or needs to be treated for rabies.
  • Call your doctor of the face or neck is bitten.

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