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emilyrose's avatar

I just got bit by a dog. Do I need to be worried?

Asked by emilyrose (2253 points ) April 13th, 2009

My neighbor’s dog just bit me. It broke the skin and I have a big bruise now. It hurts much more than I would have expected from a lame little yapper dog! (I am a big dog person, sorry!) The dog is all up to speed on shots. I cleaned it and put triple anti-biotic on it. Am I cool?

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17 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

if it’s true that the dog is up on the shots, esp. the rabies shot, you should be okay

ShauneP82's avatar

I doubt you have anything to worry about.

MissAusten's avatar

If you trust the owner’s info on the dog being up to date on shots, then you’re fine.

If not, you might want to call a doctor. I don’t know if this varies from state to state, but around here if you go to the hospital or see a doctor with a dog bite, they will report it. They may not report it if you tell them it was your own dog that bit you.This was our experience after an incident at a family gathering.

emilyrose's avatar

Please excuse my grammatical error in my question by the way. I know that drives some people crazy. Maybe I have rabies already. HA! Yes, I trust her. She is my neighbor that I have known for a long time. I usually don’t have to interact with her psycho dogs though.

Darwin's avatar

If the dog is up on its shots, then you certainly have no worry about rabies. However, sometimes animal bites will get infected. I have the most experience with cat bites, which often become infected because cats have some really nasty bacteria in their mouths. I don’t know if dogs have the same critters in their mouths, though. he triple antibiotic ointment will generally take care of that problem, but if you notice the area of the bite become red and swollen, then you do need medical attention and more specific antibiotics.

If you do go to the doctor, the bite will be reported to local authorities so your neighbor will have to prove that the dog does have its shots up to date. They may also question the circumstances surrounding the bite and there is a risk the dog may be classified as dangerous.

Since this is the case, if you decide to go to the doctor because of the bite, and if you consider the neighbor a friend, you might want to let her know so she can make sure the vet paperwork is handy and so she can show that she has taken steps so that the dog cannot bite again..

skfinkel's avatar

Why did the dog bite you? Were you playing with it, and it was an accident, or did it just get ornery and want a piece of you? If it was the latter, I would definitely report the incident and check it out with a doctor.

crisw's avatar

Are you up to date on your tetanus vaccine? If not, you may need to get this done.

toomuchcoffee911's avatar

When a full moon comes out and you turn into a werewolf, you might need to be a tad worried, but otherwise, if you know the dog has all of its shots, you’re probably fine. But if the wound does something weird (infection, doesn’t heal) then check it out.

Dog's avatar

I agree with @crisw – if the dog is up on all shots be sure your tetanus is up to date.

rooeytoo's avatar

Whenever I have been bitten, it is the bacteria in the mouth and on the teeth that causes the problems and can lead to infection (as Darwin said). I always found it helpful to soak the bitten area in epsom salts as often as you can. That really seems to clean it out and fend off any problems and hopefully keep you from needing antibiotics.

SpatzieLover's avatar

If the area gets hot, or overly swollen (not just bruised) go to your doctor.

It sounds to me like you’ll be fine.

Judi's avatar

I got an infection form a little dog bite once. I needed antibiotics. If you get any signs of infection go to a doctor.

emilyrose's avatar

Thanks everyone! Lots of questions! Quickly, I walked out the back door and the dog jumped up and bit me twice. NO REASON! It has never done this before but I have never really interacted with the dog. The dog came into my house (it’s actually my office which is my friends house but thought that would be too confusing!) and bit me in the doorway so there is no way I provoked it. Then one of the new roommates told me it bit her TOO!
Thanks for the reminders to clean it well. I will do that tonight.

Finally, I think I had a tetanus shot either in 2001 or in 2005. Do they typically recommend that when going abroad? I got various shots for a trip to India in 2001, then also got new shots when I went to Central America in 2005, I just can’t remember which shots. I really hope I don’t have to get a new shot!

skfinkel's avatar

So the dog was protecting its own property (where your office is, but her owner’s home)? That’s a tiny bit more understandable, but shouldn’t the owner keep this little biter under some kind of tight rein, if he bit two people (that you know of)? I had a neighbor that bit two people, and had to be put down as a result—although it was an aggressive dog.

emilyrose's avatar

@skfinkel—I don’t know if I would really say that. The dog entered my office and bit me in my doorway… anyway, its a little piece of doo. The owner told me she will muzzle it in the yard from now on…

Darwin's avatar

@emilyrose – Sounds like a good idea. Sometimes little dogs can be more territorial or aggressive than the big ones.

emilyrose's avatar

@Darwin—yeah, they’re insecure : )

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