If you receive a dog bite, first treat the wound with basic first aid, and then seek professional medical attention, according to WebMD. If the wound is actively bleeding, apply gentle pressure with a clean cloth, and keep the wound elevated. Then, clean the area of the wound using water and soap. If available, apply an antibiotic ointment and sterile bandage to the bitten area.
A doctor can diagnose any physical injuries, such as damage to muscles or tendons, which may require further treatment, explains WebMD. Depending on the wound’s severity and location, the doctor may apply stitches to reduce scarring. This can trap bacteria and increase the risk of infection, so the doctor may opt to leave the wound open if possible. Doctors may recommend plastic surgery for severe physical trauma.
Doctors typically take additional precautions to protect against infection, such as ensuring tetanus shots are up to date, states WebMD. If the patient does not know the dog’s health history, the doctor may also prescribe a rabies vaccine, though rabies is rare in dogs in the United States. The doctor may prescribe ongoing antibiotics for up to two weeks and follow-up visits to inspect the injury for signs of infection.