A dog attack is a terrifying experience. Dog bites can lead to painful infections and even death. Read on to find out how to protect your family from dog bites.
How To Prevent Dog Bites
One of the best ways to protect your family from dog attacks is to choose a family dog with an even temperament. The friendliest dog breeds include the following:
- Newfoundland – These dogs are good with children. They are also gentle creatures, which makes them the perfect choice for a family dog.
- Labrador Retriever – This is the most popular dog in the U.S. They do well with children as well as other family pets.
- Irish Setter – Because they’re active, Irish Setters are perfect for outdoorsy families.
- Collie – Also commonly known as Lassie, collies are playful and affectionate. They love cuddling and make excellent family pets.
- Beagle – Beagles have a lot of patience with small children. They have a relaxed nature and are friendly.
Of course, it’s not only family pets that bite. If you want to protect your children from a dog attack, you may want to teach them how to behave around strange dogs.
First of all, it’s essential that your kids know not to approach a dog they don’t know. If you have young children, never leave them alone with any dog. If your children love playing with dogs, give them strict instructions never to try and play with a dog that is eating or feeding her puppies. This includes family dogs and strange dogs.
Some dogs exhibit food bowl aggression, which might cause them to nip or bite. Females show even higher levels of aggression when someone walks up to them while they are feeding their puppies.
It’s also important that you teach your children never to run from a strange dog. If an unfamiliar dog does approach your child, they should not make eye contact with the animal. Instead, they should do their best to stay calm while backing away.
If your child becomes agitated and starts to scream or run, the dog might become aggressive and leap at them. In this situation, the dog will likely bite your child.
All the above applies to adults as well. If you become distressed in the presence of a strange dog, you, too, might suffer a dog bite. In such cases, it’s crucial to know how to treat a dog bite properly.
Dog Bite Treatments
If a dog bites you or your child, it is crucial to examine the wound immediately. If they seem minor, you may be able to treat them at home.
Treating a Dog Bite at Home
If you decide to treat the dog bite at home, the first thing to do is stay calm. This is especially helpful if the wound is on your child.
You may also assess the level of the dog bites, as each level requires a different treatment plan.
- Level 1 dog bites have not broken skin, so these are the easiest to treat.
- Level 2 dog bites mean that the dog’s teeth scraped the skin but didn’t break it.
- Level 3 dog bites result in up to four puncture wounds that are easy to treat at home.
- Level 4 dog bites will leave at least four puncture wounds, of which one is deep.
- Level 5 dog bites are the most serious and result in deep wounds.
The following steps can help you properly dress a wound from a dog bite:
- If the wound is bleeding, press a clean towel over it. Don’t use a tourniquet unless you have no other way to stop severe bleeding.
- While you are pressing the towel on the wound, try to elevate the injury if possible.
- When the wound stops bleeding, gently wash the area with soap and lukewarm water.
- If you have a first-aid kit, choose a sterile dressing to cover the wound with.
- As with most wounds, you should consider applying antibiotic ointment.
If your child has suffered many bite wounds or if bone and muscle are visible, you should take them to urgent care immediately.
Going to the Urgent Care
When you arrive at your local urgent care center, the doctor will likely ask whether you know the dog who bit you or your child. If the dog is your family pet, the doctor will inquire about the dog’s vaccination status.
If you don’t know the dog, the doctor will test for all types of infections and provide a treatment plan. He will also ask if your child provoked the dog before the attack.
The doctor or nurse will also likely ask whether your child suffers from any health conditions, including diabetes. Having diabetes puts your child at a higher risk of infection from a dog bite.
Try not to get upset at this line of questioning. The doctor must gain as much information as possible to provide the best treatment.
The doctor will also check for muscle or nerve damage before cleaning the wounds. If your child needs stitches, the doctor will do them once he’s satisfied that the wounds are clean. Your child will likely receive a tetanus shot as well.
The most important reason to take your child to urgent care is the risk of infection because of the bacteria that dog bites carry. If the bite punctured the skin, the provider may prescribe antibiotics.
Bacteria From Bites Raises Infection Risk
The bacteria that are present in a dog’s mouth and saliva can cause the following infections:
- Staph infections
If a feral dog bites you or your child, rabies will be the likeliest worst-case scenario. For this reason, medical staff at the urgent care center will ask you a series of questions to determine the risk of rabies and other infections.
The Bottom Line
A dog attack is a traumatic event that leaves emotional scars long after the physical ones have healed. If your child suffers from stress after a dog attack, therapy can be helpful.
Your doctor can recommend the best therapist and appropriate treatment solutions to help you and your child cope with the aftermath of a dog attack.
Centers Urgent care is here for all your medical needs. Our experienced providers are ready to help. Find a location closest to you here.