Updated May 22nd, 2024 at 13:44 IST

Bitten By A Stray Dog? Here Are Immediate Steps You Need To Take

Clean the wound promptly, seek medical attention, and ensure that rabies prevention measures are taken.

How To Treat Dog Bite? | Image:Unsplash
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Being bitten by a stray dog can be a frightening and potentially dangerous experience. It might even happen to the biggest dog lovers, who want to pet every dog they meet. It can happen to those who fear dogs and keep to themselves. An accident like that cannot be anticipated. Immediate and proper action is crucial to minimise the risk of infection and other complications. Here are the steps you should take if you find yourself or a friend in this situation.

Stay calm and safe

First and foremost, try to stay calm. This helps you think clearly and take appropriate actions. Ensure that you are safe and away from the dog that bit you, as stray dogs can sometimes be aggressive.

Stray dog | Image: Unsplash

Assess the wound

Once you are safe, assess the wound to determine its severity

Minor wounds - if the bite has not broken the skin or only caused a minor scratch.
Severe wounds - if the bite has broken the skin, caused deep punctures, or is bleeding heavily.

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Clean the wound immediately

Cleaning the wound as soon as possible is crucial to prevent infection

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  • Minor wounds - wash the area with soap and warm water thoroughly. Scrub gently to remove any dirt or bacteria. Rinse with running water for at least five minutes.
  • Severe wounds - for deep or severe wounds, rinse the wound with clean water and cover it with a clean cloth or bandage to stop the bleeding. Do not scrub vigorously as it might cause further damage.

Apply an antiseptic

After cleaning the wound, apply an antiseptic solution such as hydrogen peroxide, iodine, or an alcohol-based antiseptic. This helps kill any bacteria that may have entered the wound. Cover the wound with a sterile bandage or dressing.

Seek medical attention

Regardless of the severity of the wound, seeking medical attention is essential:

  • For minor wounds - a healthcare professional will assess the wound and may prescribe antibiotics to prevent infection. They will also check if you need a tetanus booster shot.
  • For severe wounds - immediate medical care is crucial. You may require stitches or other medical interventions.

Rabies prevention

Rabies is a significant concern when bitten by a stray dog, as it is a potentially fatal viral infection. Inform your doctor about the bite, and they will evaluate the risk of rabies. If necessary, you may need post-exposure prophylaxis (pep), which includes a series of rabies vaccinations.

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Rabies vaccination | Image: Unsplash

Report the incident

Report the dog bite to local animal control authorities. Provide them with details of the incident, including the location and description of the dog. This helps them take appropriate actions to prevent future incidents and potentially locate and test the dog for rabies.

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Published May 22nd, 2024 at 13:44 IST