Dogs are playful creatures and love nothing more than rough and tumble with other dogs. However, sometimes this rough play can become more aggressive and dogs can bite each other. Occasionally dogs will attack each other without obvious reason.
Here’s what to do if your dog unfortunately gets bitten by another dog and immediate first aid to treat them.
Initially, keep yourself safe and remove your pet from the danger.
In a serious situation, your dog may be too injured to walk. If this is the case, then you should try and carry them. However, be aware that a scared and injured pet may try and bite you – even a usually friendly and docile one.
If the dog can walk, then it can be a good idea to let them. This can have a calming effect on a stressed pet. Additionally, it can give you an opportunity to take a good look at them and observe for any injuries or bleeding.
The danger with dog bites
Bites from dogs and other animals can be jagged and often get infected. This is because dog’s teeth can harbour lots of bacteria. A bite is not always immediately apparent, especially if your dog has a lot of thick fur. Therefore, if you think they may have been bitten, make sure you check them out thoroughly, as soon as possible and get veterinary advice quickly.
Even if an animal bite has just punctured the skin, it is important to wash the wound really well and look out for any signs of infection. Small-looking wounds can be deceptively large as there can be considerable damage underneath the skin and fur.
If possible, gather as much detail from the other owner as possible. Swap details with the owner of the other dog. This could help with any possible subsequent insurance claim.
Treating the bite
The initial treatment for an animal bite is the same as for any other wound, except it is important to wash it immediately with clean water and antibacterial soap.
The steps are as follows:
- Reassure your pet and phone the vet. All bite wounds should be seen by a vet ASAP.
- If the vet is unavailable, wash the wound thoroughly with clean water (and antibacterial soap depending on the location of the wound).
- Stop any bleedingby elevating the wound and applying pressure. Wear gloves if possible, whenever you are dealing with bleeding.
- Get to a vet as soon as you can. Bites get infected easily; they need to be cleaned thoroughly by a medical professional and vets usually prescribe antibiotics.
- If the wound looks red and becomes inflamed, hot, or angry looking, it is getting infected they will definitely need antibiotics.
Note: Outside the UK, if a human is bitten or licked in a wound, it is really important to get medical attention very fast and have anti-rabies medication. It is also important to ensure that they are covered for tetanus. Untreated rabies has 100% mortality, having the anti-rabies injection quickly is vital.
Written by Emma Hammett RGN
First Aid for Pets provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for veterinary advice. The author does not accept any liability or responsibility for any inaccuracies or for any mistreatment or misdiagnosis of any person or animal, however caused. It is strongly advised that you attend a practical First Aid for Pets course or take our online course to understand what to do in a medical emergency.