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Animal bites: Care for dog bites

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.

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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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