Dog Bite Injury First Aid Procedures

A dog bite injury is not usually fatal, but it may need medical attention. Dog bites can lead to bleeding, infection, swelling and even rabies. Performing first aid procedures after a bite can reduce the chance of infection and help speed-up recovery.

Why Dogs Bite

One of the primary reasons a dog bites is because of lack of education on a person's behalf. Most people think a dog they know is less likely to bite. However, most dog bites are come from a family pet or a dog one already knows.

Some breeds of dogs are known to be more aggressive than others. Research has shown that male Chow Chows and German Shepherds that have not been neutered, who live in homes with one or more children, are more likely to bite than any other breed. These dogs are also more likely to be chained-up in a yard. Other aggressive dog breeds include Bull Terriers, Cocker Spaniels, Doberman Pinschers, Great Danes, Pit Bulls, Rottweilers and Huskies. It is recommended that male dogs be neutered as they can be more aggressive. All breeds of dogs bite, and there is no one "bad" breed of dog.

How one acts around a dog can provoke him or her to bite. The Center for Disease Control suggests that one never leave a child alone around a dog, even if the canine is a family pet. Aggressive games should not be played with a dog. For example, wrestling a dog may be a bad idea since the dog might playfully bite, causing injury. One should never approach a dog that is unfamiliar. If an unfamiliar dog approaches a person, that person should remain still rather run away or scream. A dog that is eating, sleeping, or taking care of her puppies should not be bothered as dogs can be very territorial.

First Aid Procedures

When a person is first bitten, that person may become very agitated. Calm that person down so the wound can be taken care of properly.

Before examining the wound, make sure your hands have been washed with soap and water to prevent further infection. Wear latex gloves if available.

If the wound is bleeding, apply pressure above the bite. When the bite is on a limb, elevate the limb above heart-level to slow the swelling down and prevent infection. Extensively wash the wound with warm water and a soap that has a disinfectant. One can even clean inside the wound gently, but make sure all the soap is rinsed out well.

Use a clean, dry dressing and bandage to cover the wound. One can apply ointment for wounds before applying the bandage if he or she wishes. Apply ice to help reduce swelling.

Keep the wound clean while it heals. It is advised to apply an antibiotic ointment twice a day when one changes their bandages until the wound heals.

All dog bites should be reported to the proper authorities. However, taking precautions and using common sense can prevent a dog bite altogether.