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How to treat a dog bite

Updated on June 25, 2009

According to the document released by America’s Center for Disease Control (CDC) more than 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs annually and about 50% of these victims are children. We know that dogs really do bite. Dogs bite other dogs in play to communicate with each other. Dogs also bite their prey. However, for thousands of years, the once ferocious animals of the wild were domesticated and have become humans’ best friends.

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The biting behavior of the dog

Dogs bite! These gentle and tamed animals would bite intruders to save the master and the master’s property. Dogs will also bite when they are stressed, scared or upset. Dogs are boisterous and playful creatures and when they play with the human family, the dog may bite and inadvertently hurt a family member. Other breeds are naturally aggressive and would bite people for no apparent reason.

The warning signs

The postman and the meter reader may know when a dog is about to bite. But do you? Knowing the warning signs is important to be able to prevent being bitten by a dog. Dogs are territorial animals. When you encroach on what it deems as it territory, you will be met by the dog’s incessant barking. The stance of the dog, the pricked ears, and the standing hair on its back not to mention the bared teeth should be able to warn you to keep out of its territory.

A dog’s bite

A dog’s mouth can deliver from 150 to 450 pounds of pressure. Imagine if the mouth with its strong sharp teeth is latched on your arm or your leg. A dog’s bite can cause deep punctures and big lacerations. It can also cause broken bones and may damage the muscles and the tendons. Naturally, these kinds of wounds would bleed profusely.

Treating the dog bite

A significant number of dog bite victims die because of the poison released by the dog that quickly spreads trough the blood stream of the victim. Minor bite wounds can be easily treated at home. Most dog owners, especially those that have been exposed to dog bites would know that the bleeding needs to be stopped. They would know that putting pressure on the wound would stop the bleeding. The wound will be thoroughly washed with soap and water before antibiotic can be applied. Minor puncture wounds may not need to be dressed but open wounds would need to be covered with clean gauze. Serious wounds that bleed profusely would need a medical professional’s attention. Rabies is well controlled in United States but this disease should never be taken for granted. Always know the vaccination record of the dog. If the dog that has bitten you was not identified consult a doctor for the necessary rabies vaccinations.

First Aid & Safety Tips : How to Treat a Dog Bite


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      Rodney Horgan 7 years ago

      Nicely explained.