Dog Bites: How to Avoid a Dog Bite & Infections


Reality bites! One wonders if someone ever named their dog reality, because this word “bite” is more associated with dogs than reality. One, and perhaps the only, downside of having a dog is dog bite. You cannot simply evade this easily. However, it does not mean that avoiding a dog-bite and infections arising out of dog bite is not possible. With some precautions, prevention and safety measures, you can enjoy the company of your furry friend without having to bite the bullet. In this article, we are going to cover the preventive methods that may protect one from dog-bite and infections thereof.

We get to hear a lot of questions about dog bites and it is the best occasion to answer those questions. So, first we will have a look at the frequently asked dog bite questions and answers. Then we will discover a few more questions of interest and learn how dog-bite is actually taken out of proportion and how people delve deeper into the realm of fear instead of getting out of this vicious cycle. While dog bite statistics surely present a very bleak image, we still need to investigate the facts and corroborate one type of dog bite statistics with another type.

The most feared dog bite disease is rabies. Apart from rabies, dog bites can also cause diseases like tetanus: an infection that may cause rigid paralysis and even lead to death. Less serious health issues are MRSA infection, pasteurella and capnocytophaga spp bacteria.[1]

Now let us have a look at all these dog bite infection and health issues one by one. As it has been mentioned above, rabies is considered one of the biggest treat associated with dog bites. However, good news for American dog lovers is that it is very rare for one to get rabies in USA because of a dog bite.[2] Now what is rabies? Although, you might be relieved to know that likeliness of rabies from dogs is little to no in USA, there is still need to know about this ailment.

Rabies is actually a lethal virus that impacts the human brain. An animal’s saliva/bite is the most common source of rabies. It is said that the biggest reason why petting dogs is considered bad among Arabs is actually rabies. However, let us be sure that rabies is only spread by an animal that is affected by rabies. Dog bites guidelines show that vaccinating one’s canine simply tackles this danger once and forever. However, dog bite first aid suggests that if you get bitten by an infected dog, you must receive immediate medical assistance.

Tetanus, as we all know is a bacteria that causes paralysis, and potentially death to its victim. It can also be tackled with immediate dog bite treatment injections for tetanus.[3] Once taken this injection, you protect yourself from likelihood of tetanus for at least two coming years.

MRSA is actually a kind of Staph infection and dogs may be its carriers. While this infection can mostly cause you skin, urinary and lung infections, in some situations it becomes life threatening.[4]

Pasteurella bacteria can be noticed in more or less 50% of all dog bite wounds. While its primary symptoms are not serious, such as red skin on the spot of dog bite, but it may later impact your walking and cause you swollen joints and glands.[5]

Capnocytophaga spp is found in mouth of canines and this is how a dog bite transfers this bacteria to your body. However, it is very rare that a human being get this virus through dog bite. Yet, those who have comparatively weaker immune system are vulnerable to this bacteria’s attack.[6]


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  • Why dogs bite?

If a dog finds himself in a stressful situation, he may bite you as a defense mechanism. Dog bites mostly happen when dogs feel scared, threatened, challenged or they see an immediate threat to their puppies, food or toys.[7]

However, this is indeed one short answer and it does not cover all reasons why a dog bites. Let us have a look at those important reasons:

  1. One big reason is possessiveness. Dogs do not only bite when feel threatened, but they also bite when you interfere with something that they are possessive of. This includes their owner’s house, their pups, their food and their toys.[8] Dogs are among those animals who mark their territory by urinating; this shows their possessive nature. Hence the dog bites.
  2. Sometimes it is not stress or anxiety, but fear. While a layman will not mostly differentiate stress from fear, there is actually a thin line between them. For example, dogs are afraid of strangers; if you are a not-so-friendly-looking stranger and you come across a local dog, your chances to dog bite are highly likely. Likewise, children who shock the dog with sudden appearance or sneaking, can also suffer from dog bites.[9]
  3. Another important reason is pain induced anxiety. Even the friendliest dog can bite, and even a dog owner may face dog bite from his own dog, if the dog is going through some serious pain.[10]
  4. Also, if a female dog is going through or has been through pregnancy, she is unpredictable and you better respect her privacy. Pregnancy’s pain and anxiety may make your female dog bite, and if she has become a mother, she may act overprotectively and in a way to stop you from touching her pups, she may bite.[11]
  5. Predator instincts – how could we possibly forget this reason? As friendly as your canine is, he is still a predator and his instructs may force him to bite you or others. Humans, while jogging or running in a park, must avoid crossing paths with a dog, for it may make a dog bite.[12]
  • What are the sure shot dog bite symptoms?

There are few dog bite symptoms for a dog bite. A dog might wag his tail, start showing teeth, licking lips, have goose bumps or show the whites of his eyes. Rigid body, ears pinned back, snapping, growling, yawning and barking are also considered signs of dog attack.[13] [14]

  • What are the most aggressive dog breeds?

Apart from notorious Pit Bull, Bull Terrier, German Shepherd, Great Dane, Rottweiler and Siberian Husky are the most famous breeds when it comes to dog bites and aggression.[15]

  • What are the least aggressive dog breeds?

When it comes to the least aggressive dog breeds, Golden Retriever, Boxer, Dalmatian, Labrador Retriever and Setters are the breeds known for their friendliness.[16]

  • How do you stop a dog from biting?

There are a few preventive measures to prevent dog biting, such as choosing a friendly breed, staying away from stray dogs, never leaving children with dogs, staying away from puppies when mother is around, avoid surprising a dog and staying calm in front of an aggressive dog etc.[17]


  • Who are most vulnerable to dog bites?

Dog bites pictures and statistics show that the rate of dog bite injuries are highest among children from age 5 to 9. 1 out of every 2 dog bite victims are children.[18] After children, men are more likely to get dog bitten, as compared to women.[19]

  • What happens if you get infected after a dog bite?

A dog bite infection can have terrible effects on many medical conditions e.g. chronic disease, prosthetic joint splenectomy, liver dysfunction and diabetes.[20]

  • What to do if your dog bites you?

If your dog bites you, you should first decide whether it was accidental or your dog is actually getting violent. In case the dog bite is accidental, you can avoid the same situation again, but if your dog gets violent all of a sudden, then it is time to consult a veterinarian.[21]

While this brief answers sheds some light on two different situations in which you will end up with dog bite treatment injections, there is a lot of grey area and you cannot see everything either black or white.

For example, sometimes dog bites you intentionally; however it is not because of aggression, but mainly because of the reason that you interfere with his privacy, food, pups or toys etc. Same goes for fear; it is your job to know when your dog gets frightened and when it is likely to attack.

Also, a very important point is to discipline your dog after every incident, even if a single one, of dog bite. This will let them feel ashamed of what they have done and you will be able to do some preemptive dog bite management at home. You should play smart while doing this and let your dog know that what he has done is not good or acceptable. However, it is always not good to try and discipline a dog after a long time of the dog bite. Biting is a dog’s instinct, and unlike us dogs do not remember the incidents of biting. So, either shame and train your dog immediately after he bites you, or do not do this at all. Why? Because dog would be unable to understand and justify your corrective behavior and he will most likely not be submissive.[22]

While dog bites often happen due to the mistakes on dog’s part, there are some occasions on which humans can be held responsible. For example, surprising a dog while his mood is aggressive and he does not want to be disturbed. But, if you ever see that your dog bites people or you without any reasons and suddenly attacks you without any previous problem between you and him, you should immediately take him to a vet. Dogs often bite because of pain or hidden injuries and instead of taking his bites as lack of discipline or aggression, you need to get to the marrow of the problem.[23]


  • What to do if someone else’s dog bites you?

If you are bitten by some stranger’s dog, first thing to do is to talk to the owner and share names as well as contact numbers. Then get the wound treated and talk to police and/or animal control unit to make sure that owner of dog take preventive measures to save people from his dog.[24]

The reason why you need the name and contact number of owner is to check whether or not the dog bite treatment injections for rabies are needed. If the record shows that the dog has already been vaccinated for rabies, then there is no imminent danger.

  • What to do if your puppy bites you?

Puppies are just like growing human babies; they have newly grown teeth and they want to test them. A puppy bite only rarely breaks the skin and it hurts less. Firstly, you need to remain calm and secondly, you must train your puppy not to do this, by pinching on their back or neck.[25]

  • How to treat a dog bite?

Dog bite treatment for humans include basic medical assistance as well as dog bite treatment injections. First of all wound must be examined, then the type of wound should be determined e.g. puncture wound and then antibiotic treatment should be taken.[26]

To take care of the dog bite at home, you must first place a clean towel on the wound in order to prevent bleeding. Then keep the wound elevated so as to stop the blood flow towards the wound. Once these placements are made, wound should be washed with water and sterile bandage should be applied to the wound.[27]

Then comes the job of a doctor. Be prepared to answer your doctor’s questions. He might ask you whether attacking dog had rabies or not? Whether you have some specific health conditions or not? And then doctor will suggest the antibiotic treatment and method that they deem fit.


If you have ever heard that famous saying that “Prevention is better than cure”, you must know that it applies the most to dog bites. Practicing some really good dog bite prevention methods is better than getting bitten, bearing pain, getting exposed to health dangers such as tetanus and rabies and pay a lot for doctor and medication. Be safe and love dogs!