what to do when your dog bites you

What to Do When Your Dog Bites You

There is no doubt that dogs are man’s best friend. Most of the time, they are adorable and cute, but on some occasions, they can turn against anyone around them, including their owners and become violent to the point of biting. Millions of Americans are bitten by dogs every year and a good number of those bites went to the dog owners. Regardless of how close you are to your dog, keep in mind that it is still an animal that has a tendency to bite. This can happen while you are playing with the dog and amid growling and twirling; the teeth can accidentally find their way in the wrong place. What’s more, a dog can also turn violent and intentionally attack you which might also lead to biting. Whatever the situation might be, a dog biting owner should not be treated lightly. Continue reading to find out what to do when a dog bites you.

dog attacks a person

My Dog Bit Me What Should I do? 

Make sure you see a doctor within eight hours after the incident because the longer you wait, the higher the risk of getting infected through the wounded area. For someone with diabetes or any health condition that slows down blood clotting or healing, you are in greater risk of sustaining further harm from the bite. Notably, applying first aid after a dog bite is a very important step to save yourself the trouble of an infection. No matter how neat you think your dog is, don’t take the risk that comes with dog bites lightly. So, when your dog bites you, follow the steps below;

  • Apply pressure around the wound 

Usually, when you sustain a cut on the skin, the first thing would be to apply pressure on the wound to keep the blood inside but in this case, the pressure is applied around the wound to cause blood to flow out in order to flush out the bacteria that has entered the body through the bite.

  • Wash The Bitten Area 

Using warm, soapy water, wash the wound to further cleanse it of any bacteria and germs. Gently rub the surface of the wound while pouring water on it for better results.

  • Apply Pressure On The Wound 

Now that the spot is relatively clean, apply pressure on it using a clean towel. This is necessary at this point to reduce the amount of blood you will lose.

  • Apply First Aid Treatment

Use over-the-counter antibiotic cream on the wound if you happen to have any in your first aid box. Finally, wrap the affected area in a sterile bandage to shield it from being exposed to more germs.

  • See a Doctor Immediately!

No matter how little the dog bite is or how healthy you think your dog is, waste no further time before seeing a doctor as your life might depend on it. The doctor will clean the wound again and probably give you antibiotics, tetanus injection, and stitches, depending on the size and nature of the wound.

  • Change Bandage Everyday 

After seeing a doctor, you still have a lot of things in order to speed up the healing process. You should dress the wound often by changing the bandage as many times as required in a day. This will curtail the chances of an infection occurring in the affected area. Also, keep the wound away from any contact that might transmit germs or infection.

  • Monitor the Wound For Infections 

A dog bite is likely to cause an infection due to the bacteria that come along with it and this is why you must keep a close watch on the wound to be able to detect the infection early. When you notice any sign of an infection, please consult your doctor immediately for early treatment.

Basically, taking care of a dog bite is mainly about keeping bacteria from causing an infection to develop. More than half of dog bites transmit bacteria like staphylococcus, streptococcus, and pasteurella, as well as capnocytophaga and if not treated promptly, might cause great damage to the body. If a dog is not properly vaccinated, it can also carry diseases like rabies which it will likely transfer to anyone unfortunate to be bitten by it. In view of this, it is wise to give proper vaccines to your dog to cut down on the harm a bite from the animal will pose for you or any other person.

man tries to cope with domestic pet

What To Do With a Dog That Bites Their Owner 

A dog that turned against its owner has definitely developed a bad behavior and something has to be done to stop it. Euthanasia which means ultimately ending the life of the dog is the last resort here and can be used when all other options have failed to work. However, once a dog has become aggressive to the point of attacking the owner, necessary actions ought to be taken to prevent such from happening again. Below are some tips you might find helpful when a dog bites their owner.

  • Train The Dog 

The first correctional action to take when a dog bites their owner is to contact a professional to begin training lessons for the dog. A veterinary behaviorist can also be of great help in situations like this. The aim here is to teach the dog how to behave, especially around people. Discipline, when the dog misbehaves, can also be a part of the training process, although physical violence against the animal is not encouraged as it makes matters worse. There are better ways to let your dog know they have behaved badly other than hitting them with objects or other violent acts.

  • Socialization Helps 

A dog that doesn’t socialize is likely to become aggressive when they see people or sudden movements are made towards them. Allow your dog to socialize with people and other animals as this exposes the animal to different behaviors. Also, expose them to different environments and conditions; this is more effective when they are still young.

  • Study the Dog’s Body Language 

To prevent future bites, dog owners should know what body language to look out for to dictate when a dog might bite. Pay attention to your dog to know how it reacts to situations and other things and also watch out for signs like flat ears, cowering back and tucked tail as these might indicate your dog is about to bite you!

  • Reward Good Behaviors 

Use rewards and positive reinforcement when required to teach your dog to be in at his best behavior. This might come in the form of petting, verbal applaud, food and any other thing that might make your dog happy. It is important to reward good behavior and keep your dog happy at all times.

  • Euthanasia

Finally, when all the options have been exhausted and you are at your wit’s end, Euthanasia might have to be used. This is usually done when an aggressive dog cannot be tamed and may be dangerous to people around.

Once a Dog Bites Will It Bite Again? 

A dog biting the owner for the first time is likely to be the beginning of a lot more bites to come. When your dog bites you, the likelihood of it happening again becomes very high if necessary actions are not taken to stop it. Most of the time, dogs bite out of fear and when they see how effective the action was in getting the person to leave them alone, they might strike again and continue in that streak.

After taking the first bite, the successive ones tend to be hot on the heels of the preceding one and you might ultimately end up with a dog that bites more than once a day. Thus, once your dog has taken the first bite, don’t underestimate its tendency to strike again.

Shetland Sheepdog bites in a human hand

Important Tips 

  1. Consider the temperament of the animal when choosing a dog for your home. A dog with a bad temper can become aggressive without warning.
  2. Attempting to play with a dog while it’s feeding her puppies or eating her own food is not a good idea. It might feel threatened and attempt to protect its territory by attacking you.
  3. Don’t make sudden movements towards a dog or you risk being attacked. Approach it slowly and give it a chance to respond as well.
  4. If your dog turns aggressive on you, don’t react by running or screaming as these actions aggravate the situation. Slowly move away from it and avoid eye contact with it.
  5. They may be friendly with them but it is not wise to leave your dog along with children without proper supervision.
  6. Finally, feed your dog properly because a hungry dog is an angry dog.

To summarize, when dealing with a dog, take the relevant precautions to avoid being bitten and when it does happen, don’t hold back on seeking help. When your dog bites you, you are likely going to be surprised but instead of worrying about why he did it, take the following steps first.

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  1. Mark Stickney, Dog Bites, Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences
  2. Why Do Dogs Bite?, American Veterinary Medical Association
  3. Mouthing, Nipping and Play Biting in Adult Dogs, The ASPCA

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