Dog Bite Treatment

  • Medical Author:
    Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM

    Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

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How can dog bites be prevented?

Dog bites often occur when there is miscommunication between the dog and the victim. It is not common to have an unprovoked attack by a stray dog. Often, it is the dog owner or a family member who is bitten.

Dog bite prevention begins with:

  • Choosing a dog breed that is compatible with the family situation.
  • Aggressive dogs may not be appropriate in a home with infants and small children.
  • Dogs are social animals; therefore socializing and appropriate training will help minimize the risk of dog bites.

Safety tips to prevent dog bites

  • Do not approach a stray or unfamiliar dog, especially if its owner is not present.
  • Do not approach a dog with quick motions or from above. Allow time for the dog to acknowledge your presence before attempting to pet it.
  • Prior to contact with the dog, ask the owner if is OK to pet the dog.
  • If a confrontation occurs, do not make eye contact and do not run or scream.
  • Do not approach an unfamiliar dog while it is eating, sleeping, or caring for puppies.
  • Do not leave young children or infants unsupervised with a dog.

Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care


Centers for Disease Control, "Dog Bite Prevention," May 14, 2009

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/2/2015
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