Man’s best friend can perform many functions. From a hunting companion to a protector to a companion to the eyes and ears of a person that lacks sight or hearing, dogs are among the most popular pets in the country. Fortunately, most owners understand the severity of a dog bite and do everything in their power to prevent it. The Centers for Disease Control estimate that half of all children under the age of 12 have been bitten by a dog. The vast majority of these bites happen with dogs the child is familiar with either because the dog was provoked or injured. However, 87 percent of all dog fatalities happen in children who are left alone, unsupervised with the dog. What do you do when your child is the victim of a dog bite?

The Emerg-A-Center First Aid Cabinet Has Everything You’ll Need to Treat a Dog Bite.

1. Get the child to safety.

Before first aid can be administered, it is important to get the child away from the dog and into a safe place. If the dog is unfamiliar, and if it can be done safely, tie up the dog or place it in an enclosed space like a fenced yard. The dog will need to be examined for any signs of rabies or other infections that could affect the child.

2. Control bleeding.

Using a gauze pad or clean washcloth, apply direct pressure to the wound until it has stopped bleeding. If the child is unfamiliar to you, be sure to don rubber gloves before touching an area that is bleeding to prevent the spread of disease or infection.

3. Clean the wound.

Once the bleeding has stopped, the wound must be cleaned. Germs from the dog’s mouth, as well as any dirt, debris or food particles, can linger in the puncture marks of a dog’s teeth causing infection. Old fashioned remedies like hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol may kill bacteria, but they can also damage the skin and cause pain. Use old fashioned soap and water or a wound cleansing agent found in an OSHA and ANSI first aid kit.

4. Cover it up.

Using antibiotic ointment and a bandage, cover the bite. Change the dressing and bandages daily or when they become dirty or wet. The object of a bandage is to keep the wound free from any dirt as it heals.

When to Call in the Experts

If the dog is not familiar to you, you may need to file a police report. If you can secure the dog, contact the local police non-emergency line so animal control can take charge of the situation. They will contact the owners and verify the dog’s rabies vaccinations as well as any other pertinent information.

If the bite is on the child’s head or neck area, and if the bleeding does not stop within a few minutes or if the dog is unfamiliar, consult with a doctor immediately. Rabies shots, additional wound care or stitches may be required.