Bite injuries from conspecifics are among the most common injuries in dogs. Read how you can provide first aid to your dog after a bite injury, when the dog needs to go to the vet and how to treat bite injuries further.
Biting incidents among dogs are usually predictable, but disputes between conspecifics usually go off lightly. But if the dog was bitten by another dog, many dog owners are initially overwhelmed with the situation. The dog is injured and bleeding. Now is the time to keep a cool head.
Veterinary treatment can get quite expensive. You should therefore speak to the owner of the other dog immediately about a possible settlement of the claim and ask him for his address.
First aid for bite injuries
During and shortly after the fight, dogs are flooded with stress hormones that can suppress the sensation of pain. Since the dog hardly shows any symptoms of pain, injuries can be overlooked if you don’t specifically look for them.
If your dog is actually injured, you should proceed as follows when providing first aid:
Heavy bleeding is stopped with a pressure bandage. A pack of paper handkerchiefs and a cloth can serve as an emergency dressing.
Open wounds should be cleaned superficially and, if possible, rinsed with clean water. To protect the wound, it should be covered with a bandage.
The 3 most important steps after bite injuries:
- Discuss claims settlement with the owner of the other dog; Exchange address and phone number.
- Check dog for injuries, rinse open wounds with water and cover with bandages; Apply a pressure bandage if there is heavy bleeding.
- Consult a veterinarian.
How do you know how bad a bite injury is?
From the outside, bites often look more harmless than they are. Even if it is so small and inconspicuous, you should always have a bite wound examined by a veterinarian, because the opponent’s teeth always inject bacteria into the wound when they bite.
Even if the wound closes quickly, inflammation can develop in and under the skin. Many serious injuries cannot be seen from the outside. If they are not discovered in time, serious and even life-threatening complications can occur hours or even days after the fight.
The sooner a wound is treated professionally, the better the chances of a quick and uncomplicated healing. It is best to take the dog to the veterinarian or emergency vet immediately after the fight.
Symptoms of pain after a bite injury
On the way to the vet, the amount of stress hormones in the dog’s blood decreases and with it their pain-relieving effect. It is often only now that the dogs show clear symptoms of pain, for example:
- Licking the bite site
Care should be taken when handling the animal, because the combination of pain, stress and fear can make you highly aggressive. In this situation, even the dearest dog can suddenly snap.
How to heal a dog bite injury
Wounds heal fastest when they can be sewn, stapled or glued directly. However, this is only possible if the wound is fresh. This means that the wound must not be more than six hours old.
Large wounds and wounds with stubborn infections usually have to heal openly under a bandage. Healing is much slower in this case. In the healing phase there is also a high risk of complications, for example from infections or renewed injury to the sensitive healing tissue.
Faster healing of bite injuries from NPWT
A new procedure is the “Negative Pressure Wound Therapy (NPWT)”. With NPWT, suction is generated on the wound area with a pump under the tight bandage. NPWT dressings can only be applied under anesthesia. In order for them to be tight and secure, they must be sewn tightly to the skin.