A  A  A   Print
What You Can Do About Dog Bites

What You Can Do About Dog Bites

Dogs are more than pets; they are family. But, even well-behaved dogs can bite. In fact, half of the dog bites that occur every year are by the family pet, according to the National Library of Medicine (NLM).

Dogs are responsible for most animal bites. However, many incidents can be avoided. Teaching children how to stay safe is especially important, because they are the ones most likely to be bitten.

Warning signs

Some behaviors may signal that a dog is aggressive, afraid, or protecting his or her territory, three situations that can set you up for a bite. Watch for the following:

  • Growling, snarling, or barking.

  • Crouching with the head low or the tail between the legs.

  • Fur that’s standing up, erect ears, a stiff body, and a high tail.

  • Obvious injury or pain.

Avoiding bites

If a strange dog comes near you, stand still, keep your hands down, and avoid eye contact. If you’re knocked down, curl into a ball and cover your head, neck, and face. Remember these tips, too:

  • Ask before petting a dog you don’t know.

  • Never leave a child alone with a dog -- even the family pet.

  • Avoid dogs that are cornered, chained, in a car or behind a fence.

  • Don’t play rough with any dog.

  • Don’t break up a dog fight.

  • Don’t surprise older dogs. One that’s deaf or blind may bite.

  • Keep your face away from a dog’s head.

  • Don’t disturb a dog that’s sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.

Self-care

Rinse any bite with running water. This may help clean away bacteria. Then, wash the wound with warm, soapy water for at least five minutes, cover it with a clean bandage, and call your health care provider. If the bite is bleeding heavily, apply direct pressure and raise it above heart level until the bleeding stops.

Your locality may have a law about reporting dog bites. If so, report the bite to the local health department and animal-control agency. And try to find the dog’s owner; you need to know if the rabies vaccination is current.

 
Today's Interactive Tools
Related Items

The third-party content provided in the Health Library of phoebeputney.com is for informational purposes only and is not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your physician. If you or your child has or suspect you may have a health problem, please consult your primary care physician. If you or your child may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 or other emergency health care provider immediately in the United States or the appropriate health agency of your country. For more information regarding site usage, please visit: Privacy Information, Terms of Use or Disclaimer.

Follow us online:

© 2014 Phoebe Putney Health System  |  417 Third Avenue, Albany, Georgia 31701  |  Telephone 877.312.1167

Phoebe Putney Health System is a network of hospitals, family medicine clinics, rehab facilities, auxiliary services, and medical education training facilities. Founded in 1911,
Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital (the flagship hospital) is one of Georgia's largest comprehensive regional medical centers. From the beginning, Phoebe's mission and vision
has been to bring the finest medical talent and technology to the citizens of Southwest Georgia, and to serve all citizens of the community regardless of ability to pay.