Dogs are considered as the most lovable and faithful pets, but sometimes attacks are possible if they are provoked or if we fail to understand their behavior. Dog bites are the most commonly occurring incidents and more surprisingly the breeds that usually bite are the most unexpected ones like the poodles or terriers. It is estimated that around 12 people die every year due to dog bites. Though death due to dog bites is a very rare case, it is possible if you do not take necessary steps towards treating the wound in time.
Things you should know about a dog bite
We must always be cautious towards unfamiliar and aggressive dogs as we don’t know them well. Mostly dogs bite when they are sick, scared, injured or threatened. Though attacks are very rare, some dog bites can have serious implications if it is not treated properly and immediately. We must ensure safety of all parties in case of a dog bite instead of panicking. We should make sure that the dog, the victim and the rescuer, all are safe. First of all we must try and prevent such a situation but unexpectedly if any such accident takes place we much follow some strict and major guidelines towards the injury without avoiding it.
You must remember some important guidelines before approaching a dog to prevent any attacks. Firstly, never try to disturb dogs when they are sleeping or eating and never chase or yell at them provokingly or touch or snatch away its toys or food bowl. Do not be too rough with them and remember that dogs having disabilities or dogs that are sick can get irritated easily. Do not go near dogs that are left unattended near yards, cellars or outside any store. Make sure you don’t make the dog feel defensive by trying to corner it or standing over it. In case of an attack try to distract the dog by feeding it your backpack, purse, etc instead or running which is going to worsen the situation. Whenever a dog becomes aggressive, just stand still with your arms folded inwards so that it loses interest and wanders away instead of chasing you. Always keep your children informed about how to treat dogs and how to behave with them.
Things you’ll need
In case of a dog bite, there can be different things that can be of use depending upon the seriousness of the bite. If the bite is not bleeding then it can be just washed with the soap and water instead of using any antiseptics. After a clean wash just cover it with a clean towel or a sterile gauze. If it is a mild bruise, use an ice cube for soothing and to reduce the swelling.
In case its bleeding mildly apply direct pressure with a clean towel until bleeding stops. Professional help is required when the bite is serious near your neck or groin. If the dog bites diabetic and elderly people, the chances of the infection spreading is greater and hence, antibiotics are a must for them.
It is important to follow these instructions in case of a serious dog bite.
a) The wound must be cleaned with soap and water and immediately rub alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. Put pressure on the wound so that the bleeding stops.
b) Tie a clean bandage over the wound and look for any signs of infection like swelling, unusual redness, fever or increasing warmth in that area, etc.
c) Get a tetanus injection if more than five years have elapsed since the last injection. Check for rabies vaccine status of the dog. If it is not sure then the dog must be observed for 15 days to check if it picks up rabies.
d) In some cases you may have to get your wound stitched. If you are not able to touch the edges of the wound or if there is high swelling, medical assistance is a must as soon as possible. Medical check up becomes necessary even when the wound or bite takes place on your hand or face because there are chances of loss of functioning in those areas.
Tips and warnings
We must also be cautious towards some rare possibilities that can occur due to a dog bite. For example if the bleeding is there for more than 15 minutes, the wound is gaping or if the skin is broken, immediately go check for medical advice. If the rabies vaccine is not taken on time it could prove to be 100 per cent fatal.