Preventing dog bites

09/ 06/ 2016


Almost 1 out of 5 dog bites becomes infected. Don’t be a victim.


With a few tips, you can learn how to prevent dog bites and reduce the risk of illness and injury.


Basic Safety Tips



  • • Remain motionless (e.g., “be still like a
    tree”)  when approached by an
    unfamiliar dog.
  • • Curl into a ball with your head
    tucked and your hands over your
    ears and neck if a dog knocks you over.
  • • Immediately let an adult know about
    stray dogs or dogs
    that are behaving strangely.


  • • Approach an unfamiliar dog.
  • • Run from a dog.
  • • Panic or make loud noises.
  • • Disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.
  • • Pet a dog without allowing it to see and sniff you first.
  • • Encourage your dog to play aggressively.
  • • Let small children play with a dog unsupervised.


What if you get bitten or attacked by a dog?


  • • Put your purse, bag, or jacket between you and the dog to protect yourself.
  • • If you are knocked down, curl into a ball with your head tucked in and your hands over your ears and neck.
  • • When you get to a safe place, immediately wash wounds with soap and water. Seek medical attention, especially:
    •     -If the wound is serious (uncontrolled bleeding, loss of function, extreme pain, muscle or bone exposure, etc.).
    •     -If the wound becomes red, painful, warm, or swollen, or if you develop a fever.
    •     -If it has been more than 5 years since your last tetanus shot and the bite is deep.


  • • Because anyone who is bitten by a dog is at risk of getting rabies, consider contacting your local animal control agency or police department to report the incident, especially:
    •     -If you don’t know if the dog has been vaccinated against rabies.
    •     -If the dog appears sick or is acting strangely.


  • • If possible, contact the owner and ensure the animal has a current rabies vaccination.


Minor wounds


  • • Wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water.
  • • Apply an antibiotic cream.
  • • Cover the wound with a clean bandage.
  • • See a healthcare provider if the wound becomes red, painful, warm, or swollen; if you develop a fever; or if the dog that bit you was acting strangely.


Deep wounds


  • • Apply pressure with a clean, dry cloth to stop the bleeding.
  • • If you cannot stop the bleeding or you feel faint or weak, call 911 or your local emergency medical services immediately.
  • • See a healthcare provider as soon as possible.


See a healthcare provider immediately


  • • If wounds appear infected (red, painful, warm, or swollen).
  • • If you do not know the dog or if the dog does not have a current rabies vaccination certificate, because you might need treatment to prevent rabies.



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