Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Incidence Symptoms Evaluation Treatment rabies tetanus Home Care pain in adults pain in children warning signs Outlook Complications

Dog Bites Home Care

Home care measures for a dog bite include:

  • Apply direct pressure to control bleeding:
    • Use a gauze or clean cloth directly on the bite.
    • Maintain constant pressure for at least 10 minutes.
    • Do not interrupt the pressure, in order to look at the bite.
  • Clean the bite:
    • Use mild soap and water.
    • Running water can help remove dirt.
    • Gently dab the bite with hydrogen peroxide to remove clotted blood.
    • Do not scrub the bite.
    • Remove dirt or foreign material from the bite.
    • Clean the bite 3 times a day
  • Apply antibiotic ointment.
  • Cover the wound:
    • Use gauze or an elastic bandage.
  • Keep the bite clean and dry.
  • Rest the injured area.
  • Elevate the injured area.
  • Notify Animal Control Services
  • Acetaminophen for pain
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain:
  • Take prescribed medications as directed:
    • Don't skip doses of your medication. This makes them less effective.
    • Be aware of the common side effects that may be caused by your medication.

Dog Bites Pain in Adults

Medications commonly used to control pain and inflammation in adults with a dog bite include:


Acetaminophen
  • Acetaminophen decreases fever and pain, but does not help inflammation.
  • Adult dosing is 2 regular strength (325 mg) every 4 hours or 2 extra-strength (500 mg) every 6 hours.
  • Maximum dose is 4,000 mg per day.
  • Avoid this drug if you have alcoholism, liver disease or an allergy to the drug. See the package instructions.
  • Common brand names include Tylenol, Panadol, and many others.

Aspirin

Ibuprofen

Naproxen

Ketoprofen

NSAID Precautions

Dog Bites Pain in Children

Common medications used at home for pain in children with a dog bite include:


Aspirin and most of the other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are not used in children except under a doctor's care.

Acetaminophen
  • Acetaminophen decreases fever and pain, but does not help inflammation.
  • Dosing is 10-15 mg per kilogram (5-7 mg per pound) of body weight every 4-6 hours, up to the adult dose.
  • Do not exceed the maximum daily dose.
  • Acetaminophen products come in various strengths. Always follow the package instructions.
  • Avoid this drug in children with liver disease or an allergy to acetaminophen.
  • Common acetaminophen products include Tylenol, Panadol and many others.

Ibuprofen

Naproxen

Dog Bites Warning Signs

Notify your doctor if you have a dog bite and any of the following:

Continue to Dog Bites Outlook

Last Updated: Mar 17, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Dog Bites References
  1. Brook I. Management of human and animal bite wounds: an overview. Adv Skin Wound Care. 2005 May;18(4):197-203. [15920371]
  2. Brook I. Microbiology and management of human and animal bite wound infections. Prim Care. 2003 Mar;30(1):25-39, v. [12825249]
  3. Correira K. Managing dog, cat, and human bite wounds. JAAPA. 2003 Apr;16(4):28-32, 34, 37. [14968515]
  4. Talan DA, Citron DM, Abrahamian FM, Moran GJ, Goldstein EJ. Bacteriologic analysis of infected dog and cat bites. Emergency Medicine Animal Bite Infection Study Group. N Engl J Med. 1999 Jan 14;340(2):85-92. [9887159]
  5. Wolff KD. Management of animal bite injuries of the face: experience with 94 patients. J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 1998 Jul;56(7):838-43. [9663574]
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