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What should I do if a dog bites me?

Dogs may be man’s best friend, but they are still animals; even the tamest dog can bite under certain circumstances.

If a dog happens to bite you, it is important to take action right away. According to the Cleveland Clinic, it is important to see a doctor within 8 hours of a dog biting you.

What should I do right away?

Immediately, you should wash the wound out with mild soap. Make sure to run warm water over the wound for at least 5 minutes and up to 10. Do not use boiling water. Most dog bites will cause bleeding, so once you wash out the wound, cover the area with a clean cloth and apply pressure. Using over-the-counter antibiotic gel is a good idea if you have it: a common brand is Neosporin. Do not take any oral antibiotics.

Once you have staunch the bleeding to a certain extent, make sure to wrap the wound in a large, clean bandage. Unless the dog was very small, you will probably need to use gauze to cover the entire wound.

When you have cleaned and covered the wound, it is time to see a doctor as soon as possible. If you cannot get into your primary physician right away, you may need to go to an urgent care clinic.

What do I need to tell the doctor?

If you have any information about the dog, your doctor needs to know. You may need a tetanus shot if you have not had one within the last 10 years. Even if you have, your doctor may give you a booster.