Dog bites are painful, but can they lead to much greater problems?
Getting bit by a dog isn't rare. In fact, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, over 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs every year within the United States. And while some dog bites are little more than a harmless nip, other bites can be much more serious.
Some people wonder if they can get an infection from a dog bite, the short answer is "yes". Further injury is also possible if a brutal bite isn't tended to properly.
To learn more about how to avoid dog bites, what to do if a dog bites you, and how you can treat a dog bite infection, keep reading:
First, The Facts About Dog Bites In San Diego.
Out of all the millions of dog bites that occur in the U.S. every year, about a fifth of those will require medical attention.
Those who are most vulnerable to getting bitten by a dog are children, often because they don't always know how to handle a dog properly and because they make easier targets.
When a child sustains a dog bite, it usually occurs while the child is interacting with a dog they are familiar with, perhaps even their own.
The second most likely group of victims of dog bites are the elderly.
Keep in mind that it's not only big and aggressive dog breeds that bite. Any dog can bite if provoked, including the small, cuddly, toy types. It's less about the dog's pedigree and more about the individual dog's behavior, individual history, and the way they've been treated that will factor into whether or not they'll be a biter.
The good news is, dog bites are preventable and you can take many precautions to keep yourself and others safe.
Understanding Why Dogs Bite
There may be a number of reasons for a dog to bite, but it's usually a reaction to a stressful situation, or as an act of defense. Dogs bite to defend their territory, to defend themselves, or if they're startled or scared.
Dogs who feel threatened might also bite or if they're acting to protect something of value such as their food, toys, or their own puppies.
Sometimes dogs will bite if they are injured or aren't feeling well and don't want to be bothered.
Other dogs will nip or bite as part of their play. Many dogs don't understand that biting hurts, they just see it as a form of being rambunctious. This is where training your dog is so important.
To further discourage your dog from biting, it's best to avoid games and activities that get them too worked up such as wrestling or playing tug-of-war.
Avoiding Risky SituationsTo lessen the chance of dog bites, avoid any scenarios where the dog is sleeping, eating, injured, not with its owner, already growling or barking, or preoccupied with a toy.
Also, if a dog has just had puppies and seems very protective or anxious when you approach, back off and give her space. Don't approach a dog that is behind a fence to try to reach through to pet it as the dog might snap at you.
Treating A Dog Bite
When treating any kind of wound, including a dog bite, the first step is to stop the bleeding. This is done by applying pressure with either a clean rag or cloth. Dog bites that are more serious require medical attention immediately, especially if the bleeding won't stop.
If you're able to stop the bleeding, wash the wound with warm soap and water and follow it up with an application of antibiotic ointment directly on the wound. Use a bandage on top that is big enough to cover the whole bite.
If you are bitten by an unfamiliar dog, you should always visit a doctor to make make sure the bite isn't infected. A bite from a dog you don't know can be dangerous since some dogs carry rabies which can be fatal if not treated.
Whenever you can, find the owner of the dog so they can give you any information you might need about the dog before you visit the doctor.
Signs Of Infection From A Dog Bite
A typical dog bite isn't a puncture wound, it's usually a laceration or a crush wound of some kind. And since infections happen when a puncture wound is present, this means that most dog bites won't result in infection.
In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics estimates that only about 10-15% of dog bites will result in infection. But any chance of infection needs treatment to avoid further complications.
Infections from dog bites are caused by bacteria found in the dog's saliva. The bacteria then enters the wound and can spread from there.
Bites that become swollen, red, or more painful as time goes on may still be infected and requires treatment.
Any bite wound that leaks puss or liquid is showing signs of a possible infection. If fevers or shivers accompany the dog bite, these are also indicative of an infection.
Other symptoms of an infection include tenderness around the bite, a loss of sensation in the area, red streaks on the skin near the bite, fatigue, muscle weakness, or difficulty breathing. Any of these symptoms should be taken seriously.
Infected dog bites are treated with oral antibiotics, and in some situations, your doctor might also want you to get a tetanus shot to prevent the spread of infection. Blood tests will determine how serious the infection is and if it needs further treatment.
Seek Legal Help
If you've suffered an infection from a dog bite, been disfigured, had to take time off of work, or are facing medical bills as a result of the bite, you may need to hire the experienced staff from San Diego Car Accident Lawyer for help.
We've helped countless clients suffering from the repercussions of a dog bite and we understand how traumatizing it can be.
Learn more about how we can help you get the compensation you deserve by contacting us to set up a consultation.