What should we do when a dog bites?

Dog-bite, whether by a pet dog or a street dog is always risky. However, in case of dog-bite by pet dogs, the risk will be less, as pet dogs are normally vaccinated for rabies. In the case of street dogs, vaccination for rabies will not be there. There is a possible danger of the dog being sick, mad or furious.

In villages, and even in some towns and cities in India, for dog bites, people follow traditional methods even today: such as making the victim drink “old rice- water” from the house of the owner of the dog which has bitten the victim. And some people get the victim of dog bite sanctified by spraying holy water or by touching of peacock feathers on the body and head of the victim, in a mosque or temple or in some specified houses.

What should we do when a dog bites?
When a dog bites somebody, the first thing to do is to separate the dog and the victim. The rescuer must ensure the safety of himself first and the victim and the dog. If the dog is a pet dog and if the owner is identified the owner must be advised to secure his/her dog.

The next step, after rescuing the victim from the dog, is to control bleeding from the wound due to the dog bite. After the bleeding is controlled, the wound must be cleaned with soap and warm water. The wound must be cleaned well to remove blood and stains and washed well to remove trace of soap. The wound must be covered with a clean, dry dressing after applying some antibiotic cream.

If the dog is a stray one/unidentified and even in the case of pet dog if the owner is unable to show any proof of vaccination of the dog for rabies, the victim must be given medical treatment to safeguard against the risk of the dangerous rabies.Earlier, for dog bites, they used to administer seven or more doses of injection. Nowadays, only one dose of injection is given for dog bites.

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