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Canine Injuries: What to do About Dog Bites

The best first aid is to avoid dog bites from the get go. Here are some simple steps to prevent dog bites

Supervise young children around dogs
Teach them to treat dogs with care
Do not roughhouse with dogs
Do not fight with them, hurt them, kick them etc
Do not try to pull apart dogs that are fighting amongst each other
Avoid sick animals especially if they do not know you
Do not pull food away from strange animals or bother them when they are eating
Keep your dogs on a leash when outside
Select your dog carefully, taking into consideration its temperament and your household needs

First Aid Steps to take if you suffer from dog bites:

To stop the bleeding you need to apply pressure to the dog bites
Gently wash the wound with soap and water
Apply an antibiotic
Wrap the area in a clean bandage
Make sure the wound is elevated above the heart to slow down swelling and/or infection
Continue to apply antibiotics several times a day
Report the dog bites to the police and identify the dog in question

See your doctor when dog bites produce these conditions

A large gaping or deep cut
Dog bites on the hands, feet and head
The wounds are red, swollen or tender
The dog bites feel warm or hot to touch
You develop a fever
There is pus seeping from the site
There is continuous bleeding for at least 15 minutes
Broken bones
Nerve damage is suspected
Other serious injuries

You will also need to seek medical attention if:

You did not have a tetanus shot within the last five years
You suffer from Diabetes, AIDS, Liver or Lung Disease, Cancer, and any other serious condition that can affect your immune system.

What to expect when you see your doctor for dog bites:
The doctor will check for nerve damage, broken bones, tendon damage
Check for infection
Clean the wound with an antibiotic solution
Possibly suture the wound
Administer a tetanus shot if applicable
Schedule a follow up appointment
Refer to a specialist
Intravenous antibiotics for special cases
Surgery for bad mauls

The question of the transmission of rabies always comes up when humans suffer dog bites. Rabies in general, does not possess a threat in the United States. If you know the owner of the dog that bit you, you will want to ask for its medical papers to show that it has had its rabies shots. When you don’t know the dog that bit you, the animal control center will locate the dog and test for rabies. If the dog has not been found your doctor may schedule a series of rabies shots for you; just as a precaution.

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