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Dogs can be a man or a woman’s best friend. Dogs provide a companion and perhaps more importantly, they won’t talk back. But not all dogs are quite so loving. Some dogs will bite and those bites can prove dangerous if not properly treated. Two types of wounds can occur from a dog bite. The first is a puncture wound which results when the dog’s teeth penetrate the skin. Puncture wounds are very prone to infection. The second is a laceration, which occurs when the dog’s teeth penetrate and tear the skin. It is this type of dog bite wound that most often requires stitches. So how do you effectively treat dog bites?

Safety Measures
Following a dog bite you should take the steps described below.

Ensure Your Safety
Make sure and secure the dog or the victim. It is critical to ensure that the victim is not at risk of another attack. Another attack can be avoided by instructing the dog’s owner to restrain the dog, or if that isn’t possible, by moving the victim to another location.

Protective Precautions
If you are not the victim, ensure your own safety as well. Wear personal protective equipment, if available, before approaching the dog.

Control Bleeding
Slow the bleeding by plugging the hole and putting pressure directly on the wound. Gauze pads or terrycloth towels are effective. If the gauze or towel soaks through with blood, add another layer. Never take off the gauze.

Clean the Wound
Once the bleeding has stopped, clean the wound with soap and warm water. Make sure and rinse all the soap away or it will cause irritation later. More comprehensive instructions are available here.

Cover the Wound and Look for Signs of Infection
You should cover the wound with a clean, dry dressing. Antibiotic ointment can be used on the wound. Watch for signs of infection:

· Redness

· Swelling

· Heat

· Weeping puss

Call a Physician
You should speak with your physician to determine if you need to be seen. Some dogs bites will require treatment with antibiotics.

Check for Rabies
An unidentified dogs runs the risk of carrying rabies. If a victim is bit by such a dog, he or she must seek immediate medical attention. Rabies is deadly if untreated.

The wound may require stitches. If the wound is on the hand or the face, you should see a physician as scarring and loss of function can occur.

A dog bite is not something to be taken lightly. Dog bites can result in minor injuries or very severe injuries. If a victim contracts rabies, death can occur. As a result, it is critical to know how to treat a wound quickly and effectively. If there is any doubt, a victim should contact his or her physician. Dogs can be playful and loving animals, but they also bite. Victims should not underestimate the danger of a dog bite or the necessary treatment.

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