Dog Bites: What to Do When Attacked

When dogs feel threatened or scared, they may attack as a method of defense.
Dog Bites: What to Do When Attacked

Last update: 22 April, 2019

Believing that all pets are friendly and defenseless at all times is a big mistake. Although it doesn’t seem like it, dog bites are more common than you would imagine. When a dog bite occurs, we should know how to act quickly.

The intensity of a dog bite can be light or serious; it depends on the level of damage to the flesh. It can be just a small wound, or there is also the possibility that a dog attack can cause hemorrhaging.

The first thing we should do in this unfortunate occurrence with a canine is to remain calm and clean the affected area to determine how serious the bite is.

What should you do in the case of a dog bite?

If a member of your family suffers a dog bite, you should follow the recommendations below to quickly attend to the injury:

Clean the affected area well with abundant water. The better you can see the area of the bite, the better you’ll be able to assess the seriousness. If it’s light, wash it with antibacterial soap to take out all the dirt and germs that can cause an infection.

Clean the wound with sterile gauze and put a disinfectant for wounds on it.

After disinfecting, cover the wound with sterile gauze and wrap with a bandage with moderate pressure to stop the bleeding. If it’s possible, elevate the affected limb to help slow the bleeding.

Stitches and necessary vaccines

Dog bites don’t generally need stitches. Nonetheless, if you notice the bite is deep, you should seek medical attention and have the doctor or nurse assess the bite.

In addition, it might be necessary to administer anti-rabies shots or tetanus, to prevent the transmission of any diseases.

Moreover, if there’s suspicion about the presence of rabies in the dog or the state of the dog’s health is unknown, the doctor should suggest a treatment to prevent infection. This will surely include antibiotics.

Dog Bites, What to Do When Attacked

Other measures you should take after dog bites

After seeking medical attention for a dog attack, it’s necessary to follow up and investigate in order to avoid greater risks. Firstly, you have to speak with the dog’s owner and ask for the certificate of vaccination if there is one. 

The dog may have reacted violently because of a lack of trust or for some external reason that upset him: like fireworks, a car starting, or something else. If it’s a dog with a clear owner and with all the necessary vaccines, there is no need for further investigation.

However, if the dog is aggressive without reason, it may be necessary to file a complaint with the police.

When the dog who attacked is in a state of abandon or living in the streets, the recommended action is to call the municipal veterinary service so they can observe the animal for rabies and take other measures to try to avoid future attacks.

“When trained correctly, man can become dog’s best friend.”

–Corey Ford–

How to prevent dog bites?

The best way to prevent dog bites is to avoid getting close to dogs, especially street dogs or unknown animals. You need to always be aware not to bother them if you see them unleashed in parks and recreational areas.

Respect their space when you go to visit friends and family. In addition, it’s recommended you do the following:

Don’t pet or feed dogs in the street, even if they seem harmless and friendly.

Avoid panicking if you encounter a strange dog – they can perceive fear. So, if you scream or run, the animal might consider it a threat and respond by attacking you.

Never leave children alone with dogs or without the necessary supervision; even less so if it’s an unknown animal or street animal.

Teach children that they shouldn’t tease or bother dogsThey shouldn’t bother them when eating or when they’re resting or taking care of their puppies. That is a big threat to canines, and their instincts are survival and protecting themselves in any way they can.

The fact that a dog is tied up or on a leash makes them more likely to be aggressive; for that reason, you should stay away from them.

Dog Bites, What to Do When Attacked

Final recommendations

A responsible owner keeps a dog’s vaccines up to date. According to the advice of veterinarians, the vaccines should be administered annually.

At the same time, owners shouldn’t allow their pets to roam freely in public. A well-behaved dog is rarely violent no matter what breed they are. Pets only become threats when their owners train them poorly.

Inside a dog’s mouth, there are countless different bacteria. That’s why it’s common that a light infection occurs after a bite.

Firstly, it’s important to try to avoid getting attacked by the dog in the first place. But if the dog attacks you, it’s better to know how to provide first aid in these cases.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.