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First Aid Treatment for Dog/Animal Bites

April 12, 2018

It’s hard to imagine a world where our beloved pets would do us harm. Dogs are, after all, supposed to be our best friends and Fluffy wouldn’t hurt a fly. The problem is that dogs are still animals and they can cause us harm. Dog bites happen quite frequently; about 4.7 million Americans every year suffer from dog bites and half of those are children between the ages of 5 and 9. Let’s face it, kids are pretty oblivious, especially when they see a cute dog. So, what do you do if you or your child is bitten by your pet, or, worse still, by someone else’s pet? There are a few first aid measures it’s important to know.

You can administer first aid treatment at home for a dog or animal bite but it’s not a bad idea to see a doctor as well. You should definitely see a doctor if the bite is from an unknown dog, the bite is deep, you can’t stop the bleeding, or there are signs of infection. Some signs of infection might be: redness, swelling, warmth, or pus. In many cases, at home first aid should be sufficient. Here’s what you should do:

  • Encourage the wound to bleed—if it’s not already bleeding, gently squeeze the wound so it does bleed. This will help prevent bacteria from entering the wound.

  • Clean the wound immediately—wash with soap and warm water to ensure the wound is cleaned well.

  • Try to keep the injured area elevated.

  • Apply an antibiotic ointment to the injury daily to prevent infection.

  • Apply sterile bandage to the wound.

  • Provide pain relief—take over the counter painkillers to reduce pain and swelling.

Some animal bites require immediate attention:

  • Bite caused by a wild animal or a stray dog or cat

  • Possibility of teeth, dirt, or other matter in wound

  • Excessive bleeding

  • Weakness or numbness of the area or another area away from the bite

If you or your child is bitten by a dog or animal, proper first aid treatment can prevent the wound from getting infected. If you administer the first aid treatment immediately, you can also avoid having to see a doctor in some cases.