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How To Treat a Dog Bite

The dog bite is the most common of all animal bites, but most are caused by pets that are surprised or teased while eating or sleeping -- which says something about the fact that boys are twice as likely to be bitten as girls.


  • Step 1: Raise the wound above the head to slow the bleeding.
  • Step 2: Secure the dressing with adhesive tape.
  • Step 3: Call the authorities to report the bite. If the animal was a stranger, they’ll need to investigate to make sure the animal is not rabid, and will advise you as to whether you need shots.
  • Step 4: Seek immediate medical attention if the bite begins to induce more pain, or if the victim has developed a fever, swollen glands, or red streaks spreading from the wound toward the heart.
  • FACT: Contrary to popular belief, a dog’s mouth is not cleaner than a human’s.
  • Step 5: If blood soaks through the first layer, do not remove it. Instead, add another layer on top of it.
  • Step 6: Place a sterile dressing, such as a gauze pad, against the bite and apply direct pressure until the bleeding stops.
  • Step 7: If you have disposable gloves available, put them on.
  • Step 8: Check for bleeding. If the victim is bleeding profusely, treat the bleeding and skip cleaning the wound. If the bleeding is not profuse, then proceed to the next step, which is washing the wound.
  • Step 9: Wash the wound with soap and a steady, high-pressure stream of water for about one minute.
  • TIP: It’s the pressure of the water stream, not the duration of washing or the amount of soap, that’s most important in cleaning the wound.
  • : Call 911 immediately if a bite causes difficulty breathing; if a deep bite to the abdomen causes pain; if a bite is in the eye area; if part of the body has been partially or fully amputated; or if the victim displays signs of shock.

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