What should I do if a dog bites me?

Nobody likes to think about man’s best friend attacking them, but it does occasionally happen. In fact, many people get dog bites from dogs that they know relatively well.

It is important to be aware of what steps to take should you sustain a dog bite. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the first vital step is to wash the dog bite wound extremely well.

How should I care for a dog bite? 

You must wash a dog bite extremely carefully due to the shape of most dog bite injuries. The front teeth of a dog will tear into your skin, causing compression in your tissues and rips. This produces a wound that is not only open, but also jagged in nature. If this wound becomes infected, the consequences may be very severe.

To properly wash a dog bite, you should use mild soap and run warm water over the wound for between 5 to 10 minutes. It is important to remove as much debris as possible, and since dog bite wounds are very jagged this might take some time.

Once the wound is thoroughly washed, apply antibiotic gel or cream if you have any, and wrap the wound in sterile gauze.

Should I see a doctor? 

Yes. You should make an appointment to see a doctor as soon as possible. If you must wait a couple of days to see your doctor, make sure that you are changing the gauze on your wound multiple times a day. This will help prevent infection.

Signs of infection include swelling, increased pain, fever and extreme redness around the injury site. If you notice any of these signs, go to the emergency room.