A Step-by-Step Guide to Treating Dog Bites

Dog bites can be scary and painful, but they are fortunately rare. Approximately 4.7 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year. The majority of these bites do not result in serious injury—just over half of people who were bitten see their doctor or go to the emergency room, and only about one percent have to have any kind of medical treatment other than antibiotics or tetanus shots. Still, it is important for pet owners to know what steps they can take to treat dog bites before they become infected and cause more problems down the road. Here's a step-by-step guide:

Seek medical attention immediately.

Seek medical attention immediately. While dog bites are not necessarily life-threatening, they can cause serious complications. In the coming days and weeks after your dog bite, you may develop an infection in or around the wound. If left untreated, this could lead to sepsis (a potentially fatal condition caused by blood poisoning) and permanent damage to the tissue around your hand or wrist. Your doctor will likely prescribe antibiotics as well as pain medications if necessary.

Your physician will also want to know about any other injuries sustained during the attack--particularly if you have broken bones or other wounds that require treatment before they become infected themselves! Your doctor will perform tests on these injuries before sending you home with instructions on how best to care for them while they heal on their own over time (which could take anywhere from several weeks up to several months depending upon severity).

Clean the wound thoroughly with water, saline solution, and soap.

Clean the wound thoroughly with water, saline solution, and soap.

  • Use warm water to clean the wound.
  • Use soap to clean the wound.
  • Use saline solution to clean the wound.

If you have access to a sterile gauze pad or swab, use it instead of your fingers when cleaning around any debris or dirt in order to avoid transferring bacteria into deeper layers of tissue where they could cause infection later on if left untreated (such as deep inside an open bite).

Afterward, pat dry any excess moisture that remains on top of your pet's skin with a clean towel before moving on to other steps below in this guide!

Apply an antibiotic cream or ointment to the wound.

  • Apply an antibiotic cream or ointment to the wound.
  • Apply antibiotic cream or ointment twice a day for 7 days.
  • Keep an eye on the wound and seek medical attention if it looks like the antibiotic cream or ointment is not helping, if it becomes red, swollen, or oozes pus.

If the wound is still draining after 7 days, stop using the antibiotic cream or ointment and seek medical attention.

Avoid bandages.

When you have a dog bite, it's natural to want to cover the wound and protect it from further injury. Unfortunately, bandages can cause irritation and are not recommended unless you are instructed by a doctor or healthcare professional.

Instead of bandages, try applying pressure with gauze pads or clean cloths that have been soaked in cold water (or even ice cubes) for 20 minutes at a time until the bleeding stops. If you're concerned about infection or dirt getting into your wound during this process, use clean gloves on both hands so that only one hand touches your skin at any given time--this will help keep things sanitary while still getting adequate pressure on top of the affected area.

After removing any debris from around your injury site with soap and water or an antiseptic wipe (like hydrogen peroxide), apply antibiotic ointment over any open sores before covering them with sterile gauze pads secured by medical tape; change these dressings every few hours until they stop bleeding completely--the goal is just enough coverage without creating further damage!

Dog bites can become infected very quickly so it's important to be vigilant about caring for them.

Dog bites are a common cause of infection. If you get bit by a dog, it's important to be vigilant about caring for your wound and seeking medical attention if necessary.

If you notice any swelling or redness around the bite area, or if there's pus coming from it (this is called an abscess), then you may have an infected dog bite. You should also go see a doctor if:

  • Your temperature rises above 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37 C) within 24 hours after being bitten by a dog;
  • You have severe pain when moving around;
  • The wound starts draining fluid or pus;
  • Other symptoms such as fever, chills, and nausea appear two days after the injury occurred


If you suspect that your dog has been bitten by another animal, it's important to get him or her to a vet as soon as possible. If the bite is deep enough or there are other signs of infection (such as swelling), then your pet may need antibiotics. If not, they may still need treatment for pain and/or swelling around the wound site.


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