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This First Aid Guide was developed by the veterinary staff at Dr. Sherry Weaver’s Animal Hospital of Towne Lake in Woodstock, GA.

Always use caution when approaching or handling an animal that is injured by bite wounds or another serious trauma. Dogs that are not normally aggressive may bite out of self-protective instincts if they are in pain. Use a muzzle if needed.

Flush the wound well with warm water, and try to clip fur from any wounds. It is important to note that bite wounds are a combination of penetrating and crushing damage. A small hole can mask severe tearing of tissues and bleeding hidden beneath the skin. Gently wrap any skin tears with bandaging material, and apply direct pressure to sites that display active bleeding.

Home first aid for bite wounds should be considered only as a first response. Evaluation by a veterinarian is very important for proper assessment and recovery. Bite wounds usually become infected, so it is very important to have a veterinarian assess any bite wound. Even superficial bite wounds have the potential to become seriously infected. Oral antibiotics may be needed. Surgery may be necessary to repair damage inflicted beneath the skin.

Always seek veterinary care following first-aid attempts. Your veterinarian is the best source of information for your pet’s specific needs. This information is provided for general reference and informational purposes only and should not be construed to be formal professional advice or the formation of a consultant-client relationship.

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