Things You Must Do If You Are Bitten By a Dog

Dog bites can be a traumatic experience, leaving both physical and emotional scars. It’s crucial to know the steps to take immediately following a bite to ensure proper healing and prevent complications. Here’s a comprehensive guide on what you must do if you are bitten by a dog.

1. Stay Calm and Safe

First and foremost, try to remain calm. Panicking can exacerbate the situation. Move to a safe location away from the dog to prevent further injury.

2. Assess the Wound

Evaluate the severity of the bite. If the wound is minor, involving just a scratch or shallow puncture, you can manage it with basic first aid. However, if the bite is deep, causing significant bleeding or exposing muscle or bone, seek medical attention immediately.

3. Clean the Wound

Regardless of the severity, it’s crucial to clean the wound as soon as possible:

  • Wash with Soap and Water: Use mild soap and lukewarm water to thoroughly clean the area. This helps remove bacteria and reduce the risk of infection.
  • Apply an Antiseptic: After cleaning, apply an antiseptic solution such as hydrogen peroxide, iodine, or an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment to disinfect the wound.

4. Stop the Bleeding

If the wound is bleeding, use a clean cloth or sterile bandage to apply gentle pressure. Elevate the affected area to help reduce blood flow and encourage clotting.

5. Protect the Wound

Cover the cleaned wound with a sterile bandage or gauze. This helps keep the area clean and prevents further contamination. Change the dressing at least once a day or whenever it becomes wet or dirty.

6. Seek Medical Attention

Certain situations warrant immediate medical attention:

  • Deep or severe wounds
  • Bites on the face, hands, or joints
  • Signs of infection (redness, swelling, pus)
  • Uncertain vaccination status of the dog

A healthcare professional can assess the need for stitches, prescribe antibiotics, and administer a tetanus shot if necessary.

7. Report the Incident

Inform local animal control or health departments about the bite. Provide details about the dog, its owner (if known), and the circumstances of the bite. This is crucial for monitoring rabies risk and ensuring public safety.

8. Monitor for Infection

Keep an eye on the wound for signs of infection over the next few days. Symptoms include increasing redness, swelling, warmth, pus discharge, and fever. If you notice any of these signs, seek medical help promptly.

9. Follow Up on Rabies Vaccination

Rabies is a fatal viral infection transmitted through saliva. If the dog’s vaccination status is unknown or the dog appears sick or behaves strangely, consult a doctor immediately. You might need a series of rabies shots as a precaution.

If the bite occurred due to negligence or an unprovoked attack, you might consider taking legal action. Document all details of the incident, including photos of the wound, medical records, and any communications with the dog’s owner.

11. Address Emotional Trauma

Dog bites can also lead to psychological distress, such as anxiety or fear of dogs. If you experience emotional difficulties following a bite, consider talking to a mental health professional for support and guidance.

12. Learn from the Experience

Understanding why the bite occurred can help prevent future incidents. Was the dog provoked, untrained, or fearful? Learning about dog behavior and body language can be valuable in avoiding potential bites.


Being bitten by a dog is a serious matter that requires prompt and appropriate action. By staying calm, cleaning the wound, seeking medical attention, and monitoring for signs of infection, you can ensure proper healing and reduce the risk of complications. Reporting the incident and understanding the circumstances can also contribute to preventing future bites. Remember, both physical and emotional recovery are important, so don’t hesitate to seek professional help if needed.

Richard Hayes

Hey there! Meet Richard Hayes, the big boss and marketing guru behind Pet Dog Planet. He's been a total doggo fanatic since forever and loves all kinds of pups, from tiny teacup Chihuahuas to big, burly Bulldogs. His absolute favorite pastime? Snuggling with adorable puppies—he can't get enough of those cute little faces! Plus, he's totally into iced coffee, chilling in hammocks, and, of course, more puppy cuddling!

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