First you hear the snarl. Then you see the bared teeth. You have only a moment to decide what to do. In that moment of hesitation, the dog pounces and you feel the pain shooting through your body. You’ve been bit. Now what? Follow the steps below if you find yourself in this tough situation.
Get information. If possible, get the dog’s name and information from his identification tags. This will help you to determine whether the animal is up to date on his rabies shot. If you no longer feel threatened, or if you have the help of a friend, attempt to secure the dog. Of course, if you feel threatened, remove yourself from the situation immediately.
Remain calm. Although this is a traumatic experience, you need to take deep breaths and stay calm so that you can assess the danger to yourself and begin administering care.
Apply pressure to the wound. If the bite happened below your heart, elevate the body at the location of wound.
Clean the site of the wound with soap and water. Make sure you rinse the soap completely out of the wound as it could cause extreme irritation. You can also treat the would with hydrogen peroxide.
Apply an antibiotic ointment to the wound. This will reduce the risk of infection, as well as the risk of scarring. Place a clean bandage on top of the wound.
Keep an eye on the wound. You want to look out for signs of infection, such as redness, pus, swelling or the sensation of heat.
Visit your doctor. This is absolutely necessary if you were unable to verify whether the dog had a rabies shot or not. If you feel the wound is superficial and you’ve verified the dog has been properly vaccinated, you might choose not to visit the doctor. However, if the dog punctured your skin or created an injury that might require stitches, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
After you’ve been bitten by a dog, it’s natural to become fearful of other dogs. It’s really important to expose yourself to many dogs and try to overcome your fear. It’s also a good idea to attend an obedience class and learn some tactics for dealing with this situation, should you ever find yourself in it again.