My Dog Bit Me – Now What Should I Do?

My dog, who has had her shots, bit me on my toes and they are black and blue and swollen. I used peroxide on the toes, but they are still swollen. What should I do?

You should see a doctor right away. You will not have to worry about rabies, but dog bites pose many other potential health problems. By your description of symptoms, it sounds like you require medical attention. A dog bite on the foot or hand is considered high risk and always warrants a call to the doctor.

I assume that the bite broke the skin and the swelling may indicate an infection. Even healthy dogs can harbor numerous disease organisms in their mouths, including tetanus, staphylococcus, streptococci and pasteurella — all of which can cause serious problems in humans. In addition, you may have suffered structural damage to bones, muscles, tendons or ligaments in your foot.

Even though they are our best friends, dogs are animals and can still bite. According to the Centers for Disease Control, they bite about 4.5 million Americans every year. 1 out of 5 of those bits requires medical attention for the injury. Children between the ages of 5 and 9 are more likely to be bitten by a dog than other age groups.

Among adults, most dog bites come from the family pet, so your situation is not unusual. However, after you take yourself to the doctor for treatment, consider taking your dog to school for obedience training. This is not only for the benefit of you and your dog, but to protect any children she might encounter, since children are the most frequent victims of dog bites.

The information provided on Health Search Online is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.