What to Do if Your Pet Has a Bite Wound
Did your dog or cat get bitten by another animal? Don't panic! There are many things that you can do to help your pet. The first step is to verify that your pet is up-to-date on vaccines. If not, check with your vet to determine what vaccines they may need. Also, if the animal that bit your pet has an owner, ask if that pet is current on vaccines as well. It’s important to note that most bite wounds need medical attention for proper wound cleaning, antibiotics, and pain management. Keep reading to learn more about caring for your injured cat or dog.
First Aid for Dog and Cat Bites
Since bite wounds tend to bleed heavily right after they occur, you should ensure that your pet receives immediate medical attention. Otherwise, the injury can become infected and lead to severe complications later. That's why it’s imperative to learn how to treat animal bites correctly, at least while preparing to head to the veterinary clinic. Here are three steps to follow in case of an animal bite:
Step 1: Do not panic if your pet gets bitten
It’s essential to remain focused and calm if your pet has been bitten. While the adrenaline rush makes us feel ready to take action, it slows our reflexes.
Step 2: Clean the wounds right away
If your pet will allow it, clean the bite wounds as soon as possible. Apply ice packs or cool compresses to help with pain and inflammation. If the wound is bleeding, apply gentle pressure using a clean towel or gauze.
Step 3: Take your pet to the veterinarian as soon as possible
After cleaning the wounds and controlling minor bleeding, contact your local veterinary emergency hospital to get more information about available treatments. After examining your pet, your vet will recommend a treatment plan that may include further wound care, antibiotics, and pain medication.
How to Prevent Dog and Cat Bites
- Keep your pets inside when you’re not at home. This advice may sound obvious, but if you’re going to be away for several hours, it’s safest for your pets to remain inside the home to avoid getting into fights with unwanted visitors.
- Keep your pets in a fenced yard. Other animals can get onto your property, bite your pets, and transmit diseases, such as rabies.
- Do not allow stray animals into your yard.
- Never allow your dog to approach an unfamiliar dog without the owner’s permission.
- Spay/neuter your dogs and cats. This is helpful to decrease roaming and fighting behaviors that are linked to hormone-associated aggression.
- For more information, check out our dog bite prevention article, here!
Need to speak with a veterinarian regarding your pet’s bite wound or another condition?
Click here to schedule a video consult to speak to one of our vets. You can also download the FirstVet app from the Apple App Store and Google Play Stores.