A dog has always been considered as man’s best friend. They will protect their masters from burglars or thieves, ensure the safety of the public, or provide companionship to people. But sometimes things can go wrong and these dogs whom we consider as our best friend can suddenly attack and bite you. According to the website of The Benton Law Firm, dog bite injuries can be fatal and can cause severe injuries.

Recent figures from the Centers for Disease Control reveal that 4.7 million dog bite incidents occur in the United States per year. Half of that number are children ranging from 5 to 9 years old. In addition, 1 out of every 5 dog bites result to injuries needing medical attention. Among the various breeds, pit bulls account for 82% of deaths due to dog bites. This breed of dog comprise 6.6% of U.S. dog population. The combination of pitbulls and rottweilers was responsible for 91% of the total recorded deaths in 2015 as well as 76% of all fatal attacks from 2005 to 2015.

Why Do Dogs Bite?

Before we proceed with first aid for dog bites, it is worth knowing the reasons why these animals act in such a way. A dog will bite as a result of stress. When they feel scared or threatened, dogs will bite as self-defense or to protect their puppies or their masters. Another reason that these animals bite is when they are not feeling well or they are startled. By knowing these things, you can keep your pet dog from biting other people.

Treating Dog Bites

While you can treat dog bites with first aid, it is recommended to see a doctor. This is important if the dog that bit you is unfamiliar to you, if the bite is deep, there is continuous bleeding, or may be infected. Dog bites may cause infection that requires treatment with antibiotics. Here are some first aid that you can try first before going to the hospital:

  • Stop the bleeding by placing clean towel over the injury
  • Ensure that the injured area stays elevated
  • Carefully cleanse the bite using soap & water
  • Apply a sterile bandage to the affected area
  • Add antibiotics to the injured area and do it on a daily basis

When it comes to dog bites, you need to bear in mind that treatment will be dependent on the circumstances and level of injury of the bite. For superficial wounds, use running water for cleaning the wound. Afterwards, apply hydrogen peroxide or isopropyl alcohol. Apply a topical cream before covering with a bandage.

For puncture wounds, let the wound bleed and wait for five minutes. By letting the wound bleed, you are also cleansing it. However, if you have lost a lot of blood or is gushing out forcefully or the wound is located in the head or neck, call 911 if this happens.

After five minutes, apply direct pressure to stop the bleeding. If it stops, rinse the wound using running water and mild soap for about five minutes. Again, if it does not stop, call 911.

For puncture wounds, avoid using rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or Mercuchrome as this will slow down the healing process. Although puncture wounds do not require a bandage, you can put one if you want to but do clean it thoroughly first.

In the hospital, the doctor will check if the bite is deep enough to result to damage in the muscoles, tendons, nerves, or bones. They will then thoroughly cleanse the bite wound to remove dirt or bacteria as well as dead tissues. The doctor will do everything to prevent infection. If the health status of the dog is unknown or if it has rabies, the doctor will give you a rabies vaccine as well as a tetanus shot.