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What should I do immediately after a dog bites me?

It may be true that dogs hold a place in the average American’s heart as “man’s best friend,” but dogs are still animals. Even the most docile dog can bite given the appropriate circumstances.

Once you get over the initial shock, there are certain actions that you should take immediately after a dog bites you. First, you will want to ensure that you clean out the wound properly. Next, according to the Cleveland Clinic, you will need to give your doctor vital information about the dog that bit you.

How should I clean a dog bite?

The primary danger of a dog bite is infection. This means that you will need to wash the bite out very thoroughly. In fact, it is best practice to run warm tap water over the wound for a minimum of 5 minutes. Then, you should use mild, non-antibacterial soap to gently clean the torn flesh. If the dog bite is still bleeding, apply pressure with a clean cloth. Then, use an over-the-counter antibiotic cream if there is any available.

Finally, wrap your wound in a clean cloth. You should call your doctor as soon as possible to have the wound examined. Until then, change the bandage multiple times a day to prevent infection.

What will my doctor want to know?

The doctor is going to want to know as much about the dog that bit you as possible. He or she will want to know what kind of dog it was as well as the circumstances surrounding the bite. Depending on the situation, the state of your wound and the nature of the dog that bit you the doctor may prescribe a tetanus booster and specific antibiotics.