How to Prevent Dog Bites

Even well-trained dogs may bite under certain circumstances. Children are the most common targets, so preventative measures must be put in place immediately.

If a person is bitten, they should remove the animal from the area immediately and clean the wound with soap and water before consulting with a healthcare professional who will test for bacteria in order to provide antibiotic treatments if necessary.


Biting is an instinctive response developed to protect food, territory and people. It doesn’t indicate aggression; rather it shows that a dog feels threatened. It is important for people to realize that dogs don’t bite “out of nowhere”. Even nice ones have limits; when those limits are breached they may react quickly with sharp and painful bites.

Children are at increased risk of dog bites and tend to sustain more serious injuries as a result. Children may struggle to communicate their emotions to dogs in an effective manner and may attempt to play tug of war or feed the animal, all behaviors which may result in being bit.

Additionally, many dog bites result in serious infections such as tetanus or rabies which require medical care to treat. If infection develops it must be cleaned out from wounds by medical personnel to prevent complications like sepsis which increases one’s risk for fatal outcomes; antibiotics will then be given directly into wounds to help heal them more rapidly.


Once someone has been bitten, it’s essential that they seek medical attention immediately, as any delay increases the risk of infection. A bite wound must be carefully cleaned up, and antibiotics prescribed if it becomes infected.

A doctor will conduct a complete physical examination on any wound to identify whether deep structures like muscle, tendon or nerve have been injured. Next, the wound will be washed with regular saline (a salt water solution) to flush away as much dirt and bacteria from it as possible before drying with gauze pad and applying antibiotic ointment – this process should be repeated three to four times per day in order to keep infection at bay; additionally a cone — also called an Elizabethan collar or “cone of shame” — works very effectively at discouraging this behavior from dogs!

Some bites require stitches, particularly those which affect the face or hands due to increased damage caused by these areas. Depending on the severity of the wound, doctors may perform tests such as bloodwork and x-rays to make sure no additional physical injuries such as bone fractures have occurred or broken bones have occurred. Individuals should ensure their tetanus and rabies vaccinations are up-to-date as soon as possible.


Most dog bites can be prevented. By teaching children about proper interactions with dogs and socializing pets as early as possible and restricting the number of animals living in households with infants or young children, risk can be significantly decreased.

Dog bites pierce skin and create an environment for bacteria in their mouth to thrive and spread an infection, but people can help protect themselves by washing minor bites immediately and thoroughly before applying an antibiotic ointment; keeping wounds clean even after seeing a physician may also help protect from further complications. People at greater risk include those living with diabetes, heart disease or health conditions which impede blood circulation as well as those who take medications which decrease it and those who have compromised immune systems.

People should always request to see the rabies vaccination certificate and owner contact information of any dog they encounter following a bite injury, regardless of who owns them. Furthermore, people should refrain from running from or screaming at a dog that approaches too closely for comfort; playing aggressive games such as tug of war; never leaving infants or children alone with dogs. It is best not to tease sleeping dogs without giving it first chance to sniff you or wake it without permission before petting; when approached by unfamiliar canines it is wiser to remain still as opposed to standing up or raising both arms – encouraging it chase them further away.

Legal Issues

After being attacked by a dog, your first priority should be seeking medical assistance. Be sure to get the wound cleaned up and treated, including getting a tetanus shot if necessary. Report the incident to police so an official report can be filed and an insurance claim filed if applicable.

State laws often hold dog owners liable for attacks by their dogs. Some states have strict liability rules and hold owners liable if their animal has displayed its viciousness in previous attacks; even if this attack was the victim’s first bite. Other states use a “one bite rule”, wherein owners will only be held liable if their animal displayed its aggression prior to biting someone lawfully on their property or doing something they could reasonably anticipate would happen on that property.

Legal issues surrounding dog bites often revolve around negligence by the dog’s owner. A dog may attack when left loose or not leashed in a secure enclosure; bite victims must prove that this owner was aware that their animal had a violent past but failed to take steps to restrain or keep away from people.

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