Dog bites can be a traumatic process – frightening when they occur, and messy and painful to treat. They can also cause severe infections if left not treated correctly.
“There are over 400 breeds of domestic dogs worldwide. Some dogs are naturally aggressive. Others become aggressive due to improper training. And some dogs are simply born with a bad temperament. Regardless of the reason, it’s important to know how to handle a potentially dangerous situation,” says canine specialist Rebecca Santiago of Barking Dog.
There are many different ways people go about treating a dog bite – some of which are effective, while others aren’t. The correct treatment for a dog bite will depend on what type of wound you have. If you’re unsure about how to treat a dog bite, here’s what you need to know.
What does Dog Bite Treatment look like?
A dog bite can range in severity, from mild bruising on the skin to severe puncture wounds or lacerations, and treatments vary accordingly. The primary goal is to stop any bleeding, and reduce the chance of infection.
How Do I Treat My Dog Bite?
If you’ve been bitten by a dog, you’ll want to wash the wound immediately with soap and water. Then, you’ll want to put antibiotic ointment on the wound. If the skin is broken, covering the wound with a bandage will help keep dirt and bacteria out of it. Do not use alcohol-based products, as these may irritate the skin further.
If you want the wound to heal well, you’ll want to seek medical attention as soon as possible. But in the short term, here are six helpful things you can do to treat the wound.
1. Cleaning The Wound
In dog bite first aid, the best way to clean the wound is to wash the area as soon as possible after the incident. You should use soap and water to clean the wound as thoroughly as possible. If you can, try to remove any debris that may be embedded in the wound.
2. Applying Pressure
If the skin is broken and the wound is bleeding, you should apply pressure to stop the blood – after cleaning it, if that’s possible. Use gauze or a clean cloth to apply direct pressure to the wound.
3. Dressing The Wound
Once the bleeding is stable, you can bind the wound. If you have access to medical supplies, then you can dress the wound yourself using bandages or gauze – wrap the gauze around the wound several times to hold it firmly in place. Make sure that the dressing covers the entire wound. Tie the ends of the bandage together tightly to prevent air from getting trapped between the skin and the dressing.
4. Antibiotic Ointment
You can use an antibiotic ointment to help prevent infection if the wound is exposed to dirt or bacteria. Apply the ointment directly to the wound before covering it with a bandage.
5. Ice Pack
An ice pack can reduce swelling and pain caused by a dog bite. Place the ice pack over the affected area for 20 minutes. Repeat this procedure three times per day.
6. Compress and Elevate
A compress helps relieve swelling and promote healing. A compress is applied to the injured area and held in place for 10-15 minutes.
Elevating the injured limb above heart level reduces swelling and promotes circulation.
What Dog Has the Strongest Bite
Not all dog bites are the same, and the breed of dog can make a big difference to the severity of the bite. So what are the Australian dog breeds with the strongest bite force?
Pit Bull Terrier
The Pit Bull Terrier is a stocky, muscular dog known for its powerful jaws and strong teeth. These dogs have been bred over time to protect their owners and hunt down prey. They have a habit of biting things and stubbornly refusing to release – giving rise to a common myth that they have a jaw that locks shut. Pit Bulls are great at hunting and make good family pets under normal circumstances.
Dobermans are slender, athletic-looking dogs known for being extremely loyal and protective of their families. They are highly intelligent and respond well to training. They are also very agile and athletic. They are excellent guard dogs and are often used for police work.
American Staffordshire Terrier
American Staffordshire Terriers are a stocky, short-nosed dog initially bred to help farmers work the fields. They are clever and trainable. They make great companions for children and adults alike.
German Shepherd Dog
German Shepherds are large, furry dogs known for their loyalty and intelligence. They are very obedient and highly trainable. They have a reputation for being fearless and brave, and are also frequently used by police.
Rottweilers are large stocky dogs with something of a fearsome reputation – but known among breeders for loyalty, courage, and bravery. They are very protective of their families. Rottweilers are very intelligent and trainable.
Great Danes are on record as the world’s largest dog, and are well known for their size and strength. They generally have a lithe, athletic build and are very loyal and protective of their owners. They are also clever and very trainable, making them great companion animals.
Mastiffs are muscular, short-nosed dogs which hold several of the top ten slots in the world’s largest dog breeds list. They’re known for their size, strength, and loyalty and are highly protective of their families. Mastiffs are very intelligent and trainable, making them excellent companion dogs.
How Much Damage Can A Dog Do?
Though many dog bites cause very little significant damage, they can sometimes cause infection, disfigurement, temporary (or permanent) disability, or sometimes even death. Here are a few things it’s worth knowing about dog bites.
Dog Bites Can Cause Serious Injuries
An attack from an aggressive dog can cause a lot of damage, particularly if the bites are around the eyes, face, neck, hands, or arms. If a dog has bitten you, seek medical attention immediately – don’t be afraid to call 000 immediately if there’s any serious damage (such as significant bleeding).
Dog Bites Are Common
It’s estimated that in Australia, about 100,000 people are bitten by dogs each year. Of those, around 14% require medical treatment. Most of these cases involve children under the age of 5 years old.
Dog Bite Victims Have A Higher Risk Of Infection
If you are bitten by a dog, it’s quite common to develop an infection at the injury site. Your risk of infection increases if you scratch the wound after being attacked.
You should make sure you wash the area thoroughly with soap and water to remove all traces of saliva and other foreign material. Contact your doctor if you notice any redness, swelling, pain, or drainage.
Dog Bites May Lead to Long-Term Health Problems
A dog bite can cause infections, nerve damage, or scarring. These can end up being long-term or even permanent health issues.
Dog Bites Can Damage Your Home
If you own a home, you may want to consider getting a dog fence installed. This will help protect your property from unwanted animals.
Dog Bites Can Cost You Money
If you’re the victim of a dog attack, medical bills can be expensive, as can legal bills if the owner won’t take responsibility. If you’re the dog owner and are sued for damages caused by a dog attack, you will need to pay legal fees and could end up paying out for medical bills and lost wages.
A Dog Bite Lawyer Is Expensive
Getting a dog bite lawyer – a legal representative with experience in this sort of legal proceedings – can be a good idea if you choose to go down a legal route. A good attorney can seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and emotional distress. But they’re pretty expensive, so you shouldn’t go down that route unless you’re pretty confident it’s worth it.
Get Your Dog Bite First Aid Course At First Aid Darwin
Dog bites are a common occurrence in Australia, with around a seventh of those attacks needing serious medical attention. Fatalities are rare, but they do happen – with the majority of fatal attacks involving young children. If you or someone around you is bitten by a dog, it’s important to know what to do, and when to seek medical assistance.
Investing a day in a first aid course is an excellent way to prepare yourself for the worst, and be ready if someone you care about suffers a dog attack. Don’t be the one standing on the sidelines, wondering what to do in an emergency.