Importance of First Aid After a Dog Bite

Even though a dog bite is not usually fatal, it is important to apply first aid to any wound as soon as possible in order to avoid infection.

How to Avoid an Infection

For mild bites resulting in little to no bleeding, wash the bite gently with mild soap and water, then pat dry with a clean towel. If the wound is bleeding, apply pressure with a clean bandage or cloth. Elevating the wound above the level of your heart can help slow swelling and bleeding. Once the bleeding has stopped, apply antibiotic ointment and a clean bandage.

When to Consult a Doctor

  • The dog bite punctured skin on your face, foot or hand, or the wound is extensive. The doctor can check if the wound damaged any nerves, tendon or bones.
  • You think that you may have suffered nerve or tendon damage, a broken bone or any other serious injury.
  • The wound shows any sign of infection (unusual swelling, tenderness, redness or oozing pus) or you develop a fever.
  • You received your last tetanus vaccination more than 5 years ago. You may need to receive a booster shot.