A dog bite can be a scary situation, especially when the animal is unknown to you. Even relatively minor dog bites can cause serious issues if the bite becomes infected, which is why prompt medical attention is required. There are also important first aid steps you must take before you get medical attention, as explained by the Cleveland Clinic.
The first step is to disinfect the wound as best as you can. Pressing down will cause a minor amount of bleeding, which helps get rid of some of the bacteria within the wound. You can also wash the injury soap and water before applying an antibiotic cream. Once clean, wrap the site of the injury with sterile gauze to stem the bleeding and keep the area free of bacteria. Change the bandage when necessary to keep the wound clean.
When changing the bandage, look for any signs of infection, as these should be addressed right away. This includes redness and swelling around the area of the wound, as well as increased pain. You may also experience a fever. If an infection is expected, your doctor will most likely prescribe antibiotics. If it’s been a while since you had a tetanus shot, you may also be given a booster.
You’ll be asked questions about the animal that bit you. This is to determine whether there is a risk of rabies, which can be transferred from canine to human after a bite. Rabies is a very serious illness that can be fatal without proper medical care. If the animal is suspect, your doctor will likely recommend a rabies vaccine, which can also be used as a treatment once the illness is already present.