How to Handle Dog Bites

Dog bites can happen quickly and some can be very serious. Wondering what to do if a dog bites you? There are ways to minimize being bitten by a dog and ways to lessen the chance of your dog biting someone. The first thing you should do is research your breed and dogs that bite (note: temperament will vary across breeds, every dog is unique!).

black dog with leash standing on rock

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.

Wondering what to do if your dog bites you, or what to do if your dog bites someone else? Here’s a list of tips on how to treat a dog bite:

  • If you are unfamiliar with the dog that bit you, the best thing to do is see your doctor to avoid dog bite infection. Especially if the bite is deep, you can't stop the bleeding, or there are any signs of infection (redness, swelling, warmth, pus). For a dog bite antibiotics can help to quickly clean up before heading to your doc and ask about dog bite treatment, they'll tell you the best antibiotics for dog bites.
  • Some people may be wondering: is swelling normal after a dog bite? 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. So if you notice any dog bite swelling and bruising, head to the doctor right away to get it checked out.
  • What happens if your dog bites someone? Share names and contact numbers if your dog bites someone so you can send proof of rabies vaccination from them.
  • 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.

Why does my dog bite me? 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.

Nick Pullano

Written by

Nick Pullano


Pets: I have a half border collie, half angel named Mikey.
Fun stuff: My dog's tongue is slightly longer than her face, so frequently her tongue sticks out a little even when her mouth is closed.

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