First Aid for Dog Bites and Scratches

A dog bit me! What do I do?
Dog bites  may range from minor scratches to severe punctures or lacerations. In any case, the first aid given to the person bitten will be the same:

  1. Make sure that everyone is safe and secure. If the bite was from a dog that attacked you, instruct the owner or person responsible to secure the dog. If this is not possible, leave the area and head to a safe location that is inaccessible to the dog.
  2. Control bleeding by applying direct pressure on the wound using strips of clean cloth or gauze. In some cases a tourniquet may be necessary.
  3. Once the bleeding has been controlled, wash the wound with soap and water. Scrub the wound and surrounding skin for no less than 5 minutes.
  4. Apply a generous amount of povidone iodine (Betadine) or 70% alcohol on the wound.
  5. If antibiotic ointment is available, apply some on the wound and surrounding area. (Examples of antibiotic ointment: Mupirocin, Neosporin, etc.)
  6. Cover the wound with fresh, clean dressing. Use tape to hold the dressing in place.
  7. Regardless of whether or not the bite is minor or severe, contact an Animal Bite Center and seek immediate medical advice.
The same steps should be followed when dealing with cat bites or scratches.

What should I do about the dog?

The dog that bit you should be placed under observation for a period of 10 days. Don’t forget to provide the dog with food and water dog during this time – you don’t want the dog to die of starvation or thirst. Check the dog’s vaccination records and be prepared with this information when you consult a veterinarian and a medical doctor.

If you notice any signs of illness contact your veterinarian and inform your medical doctor of your observations and the veterinarian’s assessment of your dog. If the dog dies, within the 10 day observation period, it is best to have the remains examined to determine the cause of death. Contact an Animal Bite Center or the Bureau of Animal Industries for instructions on how to prepare the remains for examination.

If you are unable to locate or identify the dog that bit you, it is extremely important to seek medical attention and inform your doctor of the situation.

In dog bite situations, medical doctors will often recommend you get post-exposure treatment for rabies regardless of the severity of the bite, even before the observation period of the dog has passed, and whether or not the dog that bit the human is confirmed to be infected with rabies. Please follow the advice of your doctor in this regard.

Important Links:
Map of Animal Bite Centers in the Philippines,122.078512&spn=12.308003,8.923774&t=m&vpsrc=6&source=embed&dg=feature

Important Contact Numbers:
Bureau of Animal Industry
Visayas Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City,
Metro Manila, Philippines
Tel. No. 928-1778 or 928-2836
Fax No. 926-6866 or 928-2177

Phone: 927-0971; 926-6883
Fax: 928-2429



  1. Pauline Gaerlan

    Hi, Doc! How else can I dress a wound if the Band-Aid seems to be an interesting object for the dog? He sniffs it and tries to get it out. I’m afraid he might eat it, too. But then when I take the Band-Aid off, we can’t have play time because my wound is exposed.

    1. Marose Magpily

      Oh that’s a tough one because with Odie I think anything will be interesting for him and he will try to get it! If it’s on a hand, you could wear a latex glove, or if it’s on just one finger, you could try cutting a finger off the glove to fit snugly over the Band-Aid, but like I said this might be something that he finds interesting also. You could also just double up the bandaging with micropore bandaging tape (available at a drug store) – if done properly this might be more secure than just a band-aid.

    2. Pauline Gaerlan

      Thanks, Doc! I think I’m gonna go with micropore because I’m so sure the gloves would be eaten. I also thought of duct tape but I would also want to be able to take it off haha

  2. Leslie McMartin

    Thanks for this post. I had been bitten many times and I have done the same instructions here. But definitely after you are bitten you should visit your nearest Doctor or Vet.

    Vets North Somerset

  3. Pingback: Common Rabies and Puppy Bite-Related Questions | Pet Centrics

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