Dog bites are considered as prevalent injuries among children. When dealing with dog bites, it is vital to focus on the safety first of those involved. Remember that dogs do not bite out of aggression, most bite due to fear.
Dealing with dog bites
- Always remain safe by securing the dog and individual. Take note that dogs might bite if they feel that their territory is threatened. In case the owner of the dog is around, instruct him/her to restrain the dog. If not, transfer the individual to a safe area.
- If bleeding is present, it must be controlled by applying direct pressure. This is followed by cleansing the site with warm water and soap. Make sure that the inside of the wound is thoroughly rinsed, or it can trigger irritation later.
- The wound must be covered with a dry, clean dressing. Before the wound is covered, you can apply a topical antibiotic. If worried about infection, the usual signs include swelling, redness, warmth and drainage of pus.
- There are cases of dog bites that require antibiotics especially if they are considered as deep puncture wounds.
A stray or unidentified dog might carry a minor risk for carrying rabies. Even though rare, if the individual was bit by a dog that could not be identified, or the owner could not provide proof of rabies vaccination, medical attention is required. Take note that rabies is deadly to humans if not correctly treated.
There are instances in which dog bites requires stitches. In case the borders of a laceration do not meet, or an avulsion is present, the wound requires medical care. Wounds on the hands or face must be assessed further by a doctor due to the risk for scarring and function loss.
More Information / Disclaimer
The information posted on this page on dog bites is for learning purposes only. Learn to properly manage the injury by taking a standard first aid course with Mississauga First Aid.