Tip 82 – Dog and cat bites – What to do when dogs or cats get bitten
All animals, whether wild or domestic, bite to defend themselves. When your pet leaves the safety of your home, especially if it is allowed to wander, it is particularly susceptible to this type of injury. It’s important, therefore, to know how to deal with bites because they often carry – and can sometimes transmit – contagious and fatal diseases, like rabies.
Tomcats and un neutered dogs often fight with other males in order to stake out their territories and attract females in heat. This generally explains the bites that you might see on your pet. On the other hand, an animal that roams far afield is more likely to run into, and be attacked by, wild animals.
Causes of Bites
- Wild-animal attacks.
Symptoms of Dog and Cat Bites
- A bite wound usually leaves two deep teeth marks in the skin and muscle.
- Abrasions to the skin; sensitive when touched.
- Abscess develops after a few days. You’ll notice swelling around the wound and the presence of pus.
- The site is red and painful. The abscess may burst, producing a foul smell.
- Loss of appetite.
- Fever, above 39.4° C (103° F).
First aid for dog and cat bites
- If fresh, clean the wound with tepid water and disinfect with iodine.
- Consult a vet. Animals, especially cats, have abundant bacterial flora in their
mouths, making a bite wound a breeding ground for local and systemic infections.
- If an abscess appears, see a vet.
- If the abscess bursts, clean the wound with tepid water and apply iodine (wear
latex gloves), then consult a vet.
- If your pet was bitten by a wild animal that later died, place the carcass in a
sealed plastic bag (wear latex gloves) and take it to the vet. If the wild animal
is alive, don’t try to capture it, but report its whereabouts to your local wildlife
Portions of this text reprinted by permission from First Aid for Dogs and Cats by Chantale Robinson published by Sogides Ltd.