Based on statistics, dog bites occur at a high rate in different countries all over the world. A certain percentage of these bites came from small dogs that tend to scare easily and become defensive. Taking care of a dog bite is a task that can be done at home with basic first aid, but the serious dog bites would always require professional medical care. The treatment for small dog bites is still the same for bites caused by large dogs which only differ based on the severity of the wound.
First aid for small dog bites
In case a minor dog bite was sustained and there is no gaping wound or profuse bleeding, the wound can be treated with basic first aid measures. By enrolling in a first aid class, you will learn how to handle different types of wounds.
Always remember that the wound must be thoroughly cleaned by washing it with water and soap. With a clean cloth or towel, apply pressure on the wound to reduce or stop the bleeding. Once the bleeding has been controlled, apply an antibiotic cream or ointment on the wound to hasten the healing process as well as prevent infection and then cover using a sterile bandage. It is important to change the bandage regularly to keep the wound protected and clean.
When stitches are needed
If the small dog bite gapes open, it would require assessment by a doctor and then the application of stitches in order to close the opening as well as prevent excessive scarring and infection from setting in. In most cases, the wound can be left open to promote faster healing if possible.
Administration of antibiotics
A dog bite that has signs of infection would require the administration of oral antibiotics in order to eliminate the infection while at the same time promote the healing process. If the infection is severe, it might be required for the individual to receive antibiotics that are given intravenously.
Once a doctor is consulted, the individual is asked when they last received a tetanus shot. If it has already passed more than five years since the last tetanus shot was given, the doctor might provide a tetanus shot. Always remember that tetanus is considered as a dangerous infection that can lead to breathing problems and muscle spasms.
In some cases, it is doubtful that a small dog bite can cause tetanus, but getting a tetanus shot will guarantee the individual that he/she is not at risk for acquiring the condition.
Rabies safety precaution
Rabies can be easily passed to humans by the saliva of an infected animal and it can be deadly. When a dog bites, most individuals will not need rabies shot unless the dog appears unhealthy. If the individual knows the owner of the dog that bit him/her, the vaccination records must be checked as a precaution. For a small dog bite from a stray, it is best to get in touch with animal control to locate the animal and the doctor will recommend a series of rabies shots.