Close this search box.

What to do if your dog is bitten?

what to do if your dog is bitten (1)

DISCLOSURE: Hey there, GPC enthusiasts! There are times when the products we adore align with the brands we’re affiliated with— Petco, PetAssure and Chewy. In these instances, we’ll pepper our articles with Affiliate Links. If you choose to click on these links and make a purchase, we’ll earn a small commission. While our recommendations are always unbiased, the inclusion of Affiliate Links helps us bring these products to you at no extra expense. Keen on diving deeper?
Click Here to peruse our Terms of Use whenever you fancy!

As a responsible pet owner, it’s essential to be prepared for various situations that may arise concerning your dog’s health and safety. One such situation is when your dog is bitten. Dog bites can occur due to encounters with other animals, insects, or even humans. Knowing how to handle this situation promptly and effectively can make a significant difference in your dog’s well-being. In this article, we will discuss what to do if your dog is bitten, providing you with valuable guidance to ensure the health and recovery of your furry friend.

1. Recognizing the Signs of a Dog Bite

Dog bites can manifest in various ways, and it’s important to recognize the signs. Look out for the following indications that your dog has been bitten:

  • Visible wounds or bleeding
  • Swelling or redness around the bite area
  • Limping or favoring a particular limb
  • Excessive licking or scratching at the bite site
  • Signs of pain or discomfort, such as whimpering or growling
  • Changes in behavior, such as aggression or withdrawal

2. Assessing the Severity of the Bite

Once you’ve identified that your dog has been bitten, it’s crucial to assess the severity of the bite. Not all dog bites are the same, and understanding the severity will help determine the appropriate course of action. Consider the following factors:

  • The depth and size of the wound
  • The location of the bite (e.g., head, neck, limbs)
  • Any signs of infection, such as pus or foul odor
  • The presence of foreign objects in the wound
  • The amount of bleeding or blood loss

3. Immediate Steps to Take

When your dog is bitten, it’s essential to act swiftly. Here are the immediate steps you should take:

  • Stay calm and avoid panicking, as your dog may pick up on your anxiety.
  • Restrain your dog, if necessary, to prevent further injury or worsening of the bite.
  • Ensure your safety by wearing gloves or using a towel as a barrier when handling your dog.
  • Remove any foreign objects from the wound using tweezers or a clean cloth.
  • If bleeding is excessive, apply gentle pressure with a clean cloth or sterile gauze to control it.
  • Cover the wound with a clean and sterile dressing to protect it from further contamination.

4. Cleaning and Treating the Wound

Proper cleaning and treatment of the wound are essential to prevent infections. Follow these steps:

  • Gently clean the wound with mild antiseptic soap and warm water.
  • Use a clean cloth or sterile gauze to pat the area dry.
  • Apply an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment to the wound to promote healing.
  • Cover the wound with a sterile dressing or bandage to keep it clean and protected.
  • Change the dressing regularly, following the instructions provided by your veterinarian.

5.Seeking Veterinary Care

While you can provide initial first aid for your dog’s bite, it’s crucial to seek veterinary care. Here’s why:

  • A veterinarian can assess the severity of the bite and provide appropriate medical treatment.
  • They can determine if your dog requires stitches, antibiotics, or other medications.
  • A professional examination can help identify any underlying injuries or complications.
  • Veterinarians can administer vaccinations, such as a rabies shot, if necessary.

Contact your veterinarian immediately after the bite incident and follow their guidance for further care.

6. Preventing Infections and Complications

Preventing infections and complications is vital for your dog’s recovery. Consider the following precautions:

  • Administer any prescribed medications as directed by your veterinarian.
  • Keep the wound clean and dry, avoiding excessive moisture or exposure to dirt.
  • Prevent your dog from licking or scratching the wound by using an Elizabethan collar.
  • Monitor the wound for signs of infection, such as increased redness, swelling, or discharge.
  • Follow up with your veterinarian if you notice any concerning changes in the wound.

Taking these precautions will minimize the risk of infections and promote faster healing.

7. Monitoring the Healing Process

It’s crucial to monitor your dog’s healing process closely. Here’s what you should do:

  • Check the wound regularly for any signs of improvement or deterioration.
  • Look out for signs of pain, discomfort, or behavioral changes in your dog.
  • Observe if the wound is closing, scabbing, or developing any unusual discharge.
  • Note any delays in healing or the presence of abnormal tissue growth.

If you have any concerns or notice anything unusual during the healing process, consult your veterinarian for guidance.

8. Emotional Support for Your Dog

Experiencing a dog bite can be a traumatic event for your furry friend. Provide emotional support by:

  • Comforting your dog with soothing words and gentle petting.
  • Creating a calm and safe environment to help reduce anxiety.
  • Offering treats or favorite toys to distract and engage your dog positively.
  • Avoiding any confrontations or stressful situations that may trigger fear or aggression.
  • Seeking professional help, such as a dog behaviorist, if necessary.

Emotional support is crucial for your dog’s well-being during the recovery process.

9. Educating Yourself and Others

Dog bites can be prevented by raising awareness and educating yourself and others. Consider the following:

  • Learn about dog body language and behavior to better understand your pet’s cues.
  • Socialize your dog from a young age to ensure they are comfortable around people and other animals.
  • Teach children how to interact with dogs respectfully and avoid approaching unfamiliar dogs without permission.
  • Educate your friends, family, and neighbors about responsible pet ownership and dog bite prevention.

By spreading knowledge and awareness, we can work together to reduce the incidence of dog bites.

10. Legal Considerations

In some cases, dog bites may involve legal considerations. It’s essential to:

  • Familiarize yourself with local laws and regulations regarding dog bites and liability.
  • Consult with legal professionals if you believe someone else’s negligence led to the incident.
  • Keep thorough documentation of the incident, including photographs, medical records, and witness statements.
  • Cooperate with any investigations or legal proceedings, if required.

Understanding the legal aspects will help you navigate the situation effectively if it becomes necessary.

11. Tips for Preventing Dog Bites

Prevention is always better than cure. Consider these tips to prevent dog bites:

  • Provide proper training and socialization for your dog.
  • Always supervise interactions between dogs and children.
  • Keep your dog on a leash when in public spaces.
  • Respect other people’s space and keep your dog under control.
  • Never leave young children alone with dogs.
  • Avoidapproaching unfamiliar dogs without permission from their owners.

Following these tips can significantly reduce the risk of dog bites and promote a safe environment for everyone.


Knowing what to do if your dog is bitten is essential for every pet owner. By recognizing the signs, taking immediate steps, cleaning and treating the wound, seeking veterinary care, and monitoring the healing process, you can ensure the well-being and recovery of your beloved canine companion. Remember to provide emotional support and educate yourself and others to prevent future incidents. By being prepared and proactive, you can handle dog bites effectively and minimize their impact on your dog’s health and happiness.

mahatma gandhi portrait

- Mahatma Gandhi

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”