Most dog bites aren’t serious enough that you would need to go to the doctor. As long as you properly treat it, the wound is likely to heal on its own. If your wound worsens, then you would need to see a doctor. In Connecticut, dog owners could be liable for serious injuries unless you were trespassing or were teasing, taunting or tormenting the dog.
Stop the bleeding
Before you can treat the dog bite, you need to stop the bleeding. Hold a clean towel to the wound and apply pressure for a few minutes.
Clean the bite
With antibacterial soap and water, gently clean the wound. Thoroughly rinse the soap away to prevent irritation. Pat the wound dry with another clean towel.
Dress the wound
Use a clean, dry dressing to cover your wound like a gauze pad or medical wrap. You could apply an antibiotic ointment before dressing the dog bite to assist in healing and reduce the chance of an infection. If you use a large self-adhesive bandage, be sure that the adhesive doesn’t touch the wound itself.
When to seek emergency medical care
Certain types of dog bites require emergency medical care. If you have more than one bite, then you may want to seek medical treatment. Dog bites on the face, neck, torso and hands also require emergency treatment. Finally, if the dog looked sick, such as if it was foaming at the mouth or was moving or acting erratically, it’s crucial to seek professional treatment immediately.
Other signs that you need emergency care include:
- Visible bone or muscle tissue
- Redness and swelling
- Deep wounds
- Large wounds
- Pus from the wound
- Bleeding for longer than a few minutes
Minor dog bites are simple to treat from home. For more serious wounds, you need emergency medical care to reduce the risk of loss of function and scarring.