What Should I Do If I Get Bitten by a Dog?

July 15, 2021
What Should I Do If I Get Bitten by a Dog?- AFC Urgent Care

Even if your dog is friendly and you’re both playing nicely together, bites can happen. Sometimes, they’re nothing to worry about, and sometimes they are.

So, is there a certain protocol you’re supposed to follow if you get bitten by your dog or somebody else’s dog?

Our AFC Urgent Care Chattanooga team provides some answers below.

What Should I Do First After a Dog Bite?

In general, it’s best to seek medical attention if you’ve been bitten by a dog. The No. 1 concern with dog and other animal bites is an infection, so if you’ve sustained an open wound from a dog, visit our AFC center quickly to get the care you need.

Before you hop in the car, though, it’s important to know the necessary first-aid steps to take to keep your wound under control. We’ve listed them below.

Steps to Treat Dog Bite

  • Wash the wound. Use mild soap, and run warm tap water over it for five to 10 minutes.
  • Slow the bleeding with a clean cloth.
  • Apply over-the-counter antibiotic cream if you have it.
  • Wrap the wound in a sterile bandage.
  • Keep the wound bandaged and see your doctor.
  • Change the bandage several times a day once your doctor has examined the wound.
  • Watch for signs of infection, including redness, swelling, increased pain and fever.

What Will My Doctor Do?

Your doctor will want to know more about the dog that bit you and how it happened. If you are unsure that the dog that bit you has had its rabies vaccine, it’s a much greater cause for concern and infection is more likely. If you know the dog well and up-to-date on its shots, though, your doctor will likely clean the wound again, apply antibiotic ointment and prescribe an antibiotic if there’s an infection concern.

Also, depending on the wound, your doctor may recommend stitches, but those aren’t usually necessary unless the bite is on the face or another particularly vulnerable area. We’ve listed some common signs of infection to be on the lookout for below.

Common Signs of Infection

  • Localized redness around your wound
  • Warmth around the bite area
  • Red streaks leading away from the bite
  • A fever
  • Pus
  • Swelling
  • Pain

Have you been bitten and need medical care? Don’t hesitate to visit our AFC Urgent Care Chattanoogateam today!

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