How to Treat a Dog Bite

January 5, 2023
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Dogs are undoubtedly man’s best friend, but even the friendliest of creatures can sometimes get spooked or display aggressive behavior. Bites can even happen when giving an excitable dog a treat or playing an intense game of tug-of-war. If you’ve been bit by a dog—no matter the reason—you should act quickly to stop the bleeding and help prevent infection.

What to Do If a Dog Bites You

Here’s what to do immediately after a dog bite:

  1. Wash the bite with mild soap and warm water, allowing water to run over the wound for 10 or 15 minutes.
  2. Stop or slow the bleeding by firmly pressing a clean cloth on the bite.
  3. Apply an antibacterial cream on the bite, if you have it on hand.
  4. Wrap the bite area with a sterile bandage.
  5. If possible, confirm the dog is up to date on its rabies shots.

When to Seek Medical Care for a Dog Bite

If you’re questioning whether to seek medical care for a dog bite, the answer is almost always “yes.” A dog bite comes with a relatively high risk of infection, especially if the dog is feral or behind on its vaccines. Furthermore, roughly half of all dog bites introduce bacteria such as capnocytophaga, taphylococcus, streptococcus, and Pasteurella.

While many dog bites are minor, it’s always best to err on the side of caution. It’s particularly important to seek timely medical care at an urgent care center or emergency room if you begin to notice signs of an infected bite, which may include:

  • Increasing pain
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Fever

A medical professional will be able to thoroughly clean the bite, apply antibiotic cream, properly dress the wound, and prescribe an antibiotic medication to prevent infection, if appropriate. You may also be given a tetanus booster if the bite appears dirty or it has been more than 10 years since your last shot. If your bite is especially deep, stitches might be necessary to close the wound.

Walk-In Dog Bite Treatment at PhysicianOne Urgent Care

While dog bites that involve uncontrollable bleeding or multiple wounds should be treated in an emergency room, PhysicianOne Urgent Care is a practical and affordable place to receive same-day dog bite treatment in non-life-threatening scenarios. Our fully equipped immediate care centers throughout Connecticut, Massachussetts, and New York are staffed by experienced medical practitioners who treat patients of all ages.

Additionally, PhysicianOne Urgent Care:

  • Is open during extended hours 365 days per year
  • Is accredited by the Urgent Care Association
  • Is affiliated with Yale New Haven Health and Tufts Medical Center
  • Offers a 24/7 telemedicine service that gives patients access to our professionals at any time of day or night

Visit a PhysicianOne Urgent Care location near you today to receive dog bite treatment, or connect with us online if you’d like to discuss your injury with a medical professional from home. We accept many health insurances and offer a convenient online bill pay service.

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I had to take my son in for an ear infection following a sudden change in temperament at daycare. He was inconsolable the entire car ride but when we got there and by the time we left this care facility he was back to his normal happy go lucky little two year old boy. I highly recommend PhysicianOne Urgent Care.
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