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Animal bites: Care for dog bites

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Dog bites not only from stray dogs but also from pets have been reported. Even well-behaved dogs might still bite. Luckily, any incidents can be avoided such as teaching children how to stay safe since they are the usual victims.

Among the different types of animal bites, dog bites are more common especially among children. It is vital that you know how to properly care for a wound and then seek medical care for further assessment. Remember that the injury can put one at risk for rabies.

What are the warning indications?

Certain behaviors might indicate that a dog is aggressive, frightened or defending his/her territory. These scenarios can put one at risk for dog bites. The warming indications to watch out for include the following:

  • Snarling, growling or barking
    Dog bites
    In case the bite is bleeding significantly, apply direct pressure and elevate it above the level of the heart until the bleeding stops.
  • In a crouched position with the head low or the tail in between the legs
  • The fur appears to stand up with erect ears, stiffened body and a high tail
  • Obvious pain or injury

How to avoid dog bites

If a peculiar dog approaches, you have to stand motionless with the hands down and evade any eye contact. In case you are knocked down, it is recommended to coil into a ball and protect your head, face and neck. Additional tips to bear in mind include the following:

  • Do not pet a dog that you do not know
  • Do not leave a child alone with a dog even the family pet.
  • Stay away from dogs that are trapped, bound or behind a barrier.
  • Avoid play in a rowdy manner with any dog
  • Do not attempt to stop a dog fight
  • Do not disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating or nursing puppies

Self-care for bites

Dog bites should be rinsed under running water to help eliminate any bacteria. Wash the wound using warm, soapy water for at least 5 minutes and cover with a clean bandage and get in touch with a doctor. In case the bite is bleeding significantly, apply direct pressure and elevate it above the level of the heart until the bleeding stops.

More Information / Disclaimer

The information posted on this page on dog bites is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize and manage animal bites including dog bites by taking a standard first aid course with Red Deer First Aid.

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