How to Handle Dog Bites

Dog bites can happen quickly and some can be very serious. There are ways to minimize being bit and ways to lessen the chance or of your dog biting someone. The first thing you should do is research your breed. Whether you own the dog already or are planning to buy a dog, finding out about their breed behaviors will only help you in the long run. A good source of this information is directly from your veterinarian or the shelter in which you are adopting from.

In the case that you do receive a dog bite, here’s a list of tips on how to handle them.

  • If you are unfamiliar with the dog that bit you, the best thing to do is see your doctor. Especially if the bite is deep, you can’t stop the bleeding, or there are any signs of infection (redness, swelling, warmth, pus).
  • Dog bites can cause infections, which should be be treated with antibiotics, so make sure to gain access to antibacterial ointments as soon as possible after the bite.
  • If the dog’s owner is present, share names and contact numbers so you can get proof of rabies vaccination from them.
  • Check with the dog’s veterinarian to make sure the rabies vaccine is up to date.
  • Gently clean the bite wound with antibacterial soap and water as soon as possible and seek medical attention as soon as possible – either your regular doctor if the wound is mild, or the emergency room if the bite wound is more severe.
  • Use common sense to determine the severity of the wound, if in doubt head to the ER.
  • Animal control and the police should be notified of the incident so they can make sure the owner of the dog takes steps to prevent their dog from biting someone again.

We all love our dogs, but the truth is that bites sometimes happen. If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, make sure you take the necessary precautionary measures so it doesn’t happen again. Remember to keep calm; your dog will only sense your nervousness. Also, remember while it might not be YOUR fault your dog bit someone, it’s your responsibility to make sure that person is okay and receives the information requested of you.

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