Dog bites

Fact Checked

Animal bites are frequent occurrence anywhere annually and children are more susceptible to animal bites than adults and the most prevalent are dog bites. The common complication of animal bites is infection of the skin and rabies. By knowing how to clean and care for a bite caused by dogs, the high risk for potential complications can be minimized.


  • First, examine the dog bite. If the bite only breaks the exterior skin surface such as a shallow scratch, the wound can be treated at home. If the bite caused a wound where the tissues are torn or the joints and the bones are severely damaged, seek medical help immediately.
  • Wash the bitten area for several minutes using plenty of soap and water at a comfortable temperature in order to help clean the wound for any germs that might be present around the wound from the mouth of the dog. Use an antibacterial soap in washing the bite site.
  • If the wound is bleeding, apply pressure using gauze or a clean towel to place pressure after washing it. The bleeding should be lessened or properly controlled to bandage the wound after several minutes. If the wound continues to bleed after 15 minutes of applying pressure, seek medical help immediately.
    Dog bite
    If the wound is bleeding, apply pressure using gauze or a clean towel to place pressure after washing it.
  • Apply an antibiotic ointment in order to help in preventing the development of infection as it heals.
  • After applying an antibiotic ointment, bandage or apply dressing on the wound properly and put enough pressure in order to protect the injured area. Just remember to avoid applying too much pressure as it will affect the circulation of blood and cause further discomfort.
  • Change bandages regularly if it becomes soiled and also when taking a bath. Wash the affected area gently and reapply an antibiotic cream and cover it with a clean bandage.
  • Tetanus is a common infection that can be caused by animal bites that breaks the skin. Take note that there is a need to consult a doctor for a tetanus booster.
  • If the bitten area is swollen, the pain becomes severe, there is redness or warmth around the affected area, the affected person has fever and pus discharge on the affected area, seek medical help immediately.
  • Individuals suffering from conditions such diseases of the liver, diabetes, cancer, and taking medications that causes weakening of the immune system such as autoimmune disorders and was bitten a dog, seek medical help immediately.


  • Avoid approaching a dog with quick movements and allow the dog to recognize your presence before trying to pet it.
  • Avoid approaching an unfamiliar or stray dog, especially if the owner is not around.
  • Ask the owner of the dog before trying to pet the animal.
  • Avoid approaching an animal if the animal is sleeping, eating or caring for puppies.
  • Avoid leaving small children or infants unsupervised with a dog.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • All content is reviewed by a medical professional and / sourced to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

  • We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable websites, academic research institutions and medical articles.

  • If you feel that any of our content is inaccurate, out-of-date, or otherwise questionable, please contact us through our contact us page.

The information posted on this page is for educational purposes only.
If you need medical advice or help with a diagnosis contact a medical professional