What To Do In Case Of Dog Bites?


Dog bites are intimidating injuries for most people. Typically, a dog bite is because of the extreme compression on the skin which results in a breakage of the epidermis, and that, in turn, leads to bleeding and in quite a few cases, infection and other severe medical issues. Feelings of panic and anxiety are perfectly natural in case you have been bitten by a dog. However, it is preferable to have someone around you who can handle the situation with calm and efficiency. Naturally, you may be alone during such an incident, and in such a case, you may have to administer first-aid to yourself. Therefore, to address any such medical emergency, here are some steps you can follow to minimise the severity of the dog bite injury.

1. Ascertain the vaccination status of the dog

This is imperative for you to know because depending on whether or not the dog has been vaccinated, you need to take the necessary precautions to prevent infections and blood loss. If the dog has been vaccinated then you do not have much to worry about in terms of medical attention, unless the dog bite is severe enough to require stitches or emergency medical attention. In either case, you must consult a medical professional to give your wound a sound examination and from thereon, start a course of treatment as may be required. The main advantage you get from knowing whether or not the dog has been vaccinated is mental peace and clarity. Knowing the level of danger you are in will help you or your loved ones make sensible decisions in tackling your injury.

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2. Rinse with soap

Rinse with soap
Picture Source: health.Clevelandclinic.org

One of the main reasons it is necessary to rinse your dog bite wound with soap is the presence of malignant bacteria. Regardless of whether or not the dog has been vaccinated, a dog bite can contain the presence of germs, bacteria, and dirt, all of which must be exterminated from the wound to prevent infections and further pain. In many cases of dog bites from vaccinated dogs and the alternative, because one cannot always monitor where a dog has been or what it has taken in its mouth, the germs lead to redness, swelling, and burning sensations. Rinsing the wound with soap, therefore, will have the direct advantage of having cleaned the wound and getting rid of germs and bacteria which prevents the spreading of any infection.

3. Clean with Antiseptic

After having thoroughly rinsed your wound with soap and water, the next step is to clean it with an antiseptic solution such as Dettol or Betadine. However, only perform this step if the wound is not too deep or severe. This would help in killing any remainder germs and microorganisms that rising with soap could have missed.

4. Elevate the wound

Elevating the wound helps in reducing swelling and therefore maintaining a healthy supply of red blood cells, white blood cells (which protect your body from infections and keep your immunity at its best), and platelets (which clot any and every wound to stop blood loss), through the injured area.

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5. Slow down the loss of blood

Using a clean towel to cover the wound with adequate pressure. Doing this helps in reducing the loss of blood through the wound. Keep checking at timely intervals whether the bleeding has reduced or not. If the bleeding does not reduce then you should keep the towel tied as you head to a doctor’s clinic or the hospital.

6. Use a sterile bandage

Use a sterile bandage
Picture Source: sandiegowoundcarecenter.com

Once the bleeding is in control, using cotton and a sterile bandage, cover up the wound while making sure that the bandages are not wound too tightly. This will ensure that the wound remains safe from environmental germs and bacteria and the lack of interference from them allows the platelets to work at their best efficiency and form a clot over the wounded area.

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7. Check the wound

Keep checking the wound to see whether it is swelling if any redness or rash is developing, whether or not it is itching. Consider using antiseptic and antibiotic ointments which you can source as over the counter medicines. Doing so will have a two-fold benefit. To begin with, it will keep your wound moisturized and therefore less irritable, and the second benefit is that it will keep the wound sterile and infection-free.

8. Consult a medical professional

Consult a medical professional

Regardless of whether the dog bite is serious or not, make sure you consult a medical professional who is equipped to deal with such an injury. If the dog is not vaccinated, it may be necessary to receive a few injections at the discretion of the doctor. You must be prepared to answer questions about any existing health conditions you may have such as diabetes, hypertension, blood pressure problems, and so on since knowing such conditions is vital to selecting the optimal course of medical treatment for the doctor.


Following the above-mentioned steps will ensure that your dog bite wound does not turn serious. It would be worthwhile to mention that most of the time, dogs only ever bite when provoked. Therefore, as the most intelligent species on Earth, we must be mindful of the dogs which live amidst us and not make life harder for street dogs than it already is.

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