A dog biting its owner's arm.

What Should I Do If My Dog Bites Me?

It is a really traumatic and painful experience when you are bitten by your own dog. Dog bites can range from shallow scrapes or punctures to severe infections. So, what do you need to do when your dog bites you?  

If your dog bites you, the first step is to cleanse the wound delicately with warm water and soap. If there’s any bleeding, promptly place pressure on it using a bandage or towel until it stops. After that, rub an antiseptic ointment onto the hurt area before covering it up securely with sterile gauze or plaster.

What Should I Do Immediately After My Dog Bites Me?

A dog about to bite its owner.

The first and foremost thing you should need to do immediately after you’ve been bitten by a dog is:

  • Immediately clean the wound with water and soap.
  • Treat it with an antiseptic
  • After washing the affected area, apply a sterile bandage.
  • Do not try to stop the bleeding by using a tourniquet or applying pressure directly to the wound because this can cause further damage.
  • If possible, use gloves while treating the wound. 
  • Seek medical attention as soon as possible. Even if the bite appears to be minor, your doctor must examine the wound and provide antibiotic treatment.

Should I Go To The Doctor If I’ve Been Bitten?

Absolutely. Get medical advice right away, even if the bite isn’t serious. Clean the wound with soap and water, apply antiseptic or antibiotics as needed, and consider a tetanus shot based on your situation. 

Don’t ignore a bite. Infections can worsen quickly, so seek expert help now! Don’t just hope for the best! 

What Are Possible Complications From A Dog Bite?

Here’s what they are:

  • Infections
  • Broken bones
  • Tetanus
  • Rabies
  • Nerve and muscle damage
  • Death

Do I Need A Rabies Shot?

Your doctor will likely give you a rabies shot if the dog is not known to have been vaccinated for rabies. It’s important to get this as soon as possible because unvaccinated dogs could have contracted rabies and exposed you to the virus without any visible symptoms.

Rabies virus can cause serious health risks and even death. Though medications and HRIG injections may reduce your chances of developing symptoms, they cannot guarantee complete protection from disease transmission. So, don’t take any chances. Get a rabies shot as soon as possible!

What Could Be The Cause Of Dog Biting?

Biting is a behavior that can be concerning for pet owners, and it is important to identify the source of why your dog may be biting to take steps toward correcting the issue. Some most common causes of dog bites are the following.


Fear-biting is a common type of dog bite, usually stemming from fear or anxiety. When scared, dogs may lash out due to an unfamiliar situation or sudden noise. Recognize these signs and take measures to soothe your dog before they become too distressed.


Aggression can be a factor in dog biting. Dominance and competition for resources like food or toys may all contribute. Biting can be a sign of underlying aggression and should not be ignored.

Medical Issues

Medical issues can cause changes in behavior that are unpredictable. Pain, disease, or neurological disorders may all be the source of biting and should be assessed by a veterinarian for proper diagnosis.

Resource Guarding

Resource guarding occurs when a dog perceives their possessions as threatened and defends them out of fear. This could result in growling, snapping, or even biting if the perceived threat persists in trying to take away food, toys, or other valued items.

Instinctual Response To Stimuli

Some dogs may have an instinctual response to certain stimuli. These could include sudden movements or loud noises that trigger a fear response in your dog and cause them to bite.

Frustration Or Stress

If a dog is unable to escape from an uncomfortable situation, it may resort to biting as a display of frustration or stress. It’s important to look for signs that your pet might be feeling overwhelmed and take steps to alleviate the issue.

Attention-Seeking Behavior

Sometimes, dogs may bite to get your attention from you. Dogs crave interaction and companionship, so if they’re not getting enough, it can lead to biting as a way of trying to get your attention.

How Can I Minimize the Risk Of My Dog Biting In The Future?

Here are some practical tips to reduce the risk of dog bites: 

  • Take the time to socialize your dog properly, introducing them to different people, animals, and environments from an early age.
  • Ensure you are providing your canine with enough physical exercise and mental stimulation daily to reduce any built-up frustration or anxiety.
  • Avoid playing aggressive games with your dog, as this can encourage them to act aggressively when interacting with humans.
  • Train your dog using positive reinforcement techniques such as clicker training and reward-based learning to discourage any aggressive behaviors.
  • Always pay attention to your dog’s body language and watch out for signs of aggression, such as raised hackles or bared teeth. If your dog shows any of these signs, try to move away from the situation and seek professional help if necessary.

In Conclusion: What Should I Do If My Dog Bites Me?

Bites from dogs can be prevented by remaining calm and redirecting the dog’s attention away from biting. Providing positive reinforcement when the dog responds to commands helps too. Socialization, exercise, and proper training should also be provided for safety. Professional help may be needed in some cases. By understanding and developing a strong bond with your pet, both of you can create a happy life together.

So, have you been bitten by a dog before or are you just preparing in case it happens? Let us know in the comments below!

Dr. Mohsin Iqbal (DVM, RVMP)
Dr. Mohsin Iqbal (DVM, RVMP)
Dr. Mohsin Iqbal is a licensed veterinarian with more than 5 years of experience in veterinary medicine. After receiving his DVM degree from The Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Pakistan, he worked as a veterinarian in both government and private sectors. Dr. Mohsin specializes in small animal medicine and surgery and has experience treating all types of animals including dogs, cats, horses, and reptiles. He has a passion for pets and has written several eBooks on pet care and surgery. In addition to his clinical work, he also volunteers his time for various animal rescue organizations and helps care for injured and abandoned animals.