Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing

What to Do if Another Dog Bites Your Dog

What to Do if Another Dog Bites Your Dog

It's a very scary experience if your dog is bitten by another dog. Today, our Hopkinsville vets discuss what you should do if another dog bites your dog, and how your dog should be treated.

Remain Calm

Being able to take a level-headed approach, knowing how to inspect your dog for an injury, and having a plan for what to do next can go a long way to making the situation less stressful. It can also give you a better chance of getting your pooch settled enough to safely head to the vet for a physical check-up.

Get Your Dog Somewhere Safe

If you witness another dog bite your dog, the first thing to do is safely remove your dog from the situation, trying to avoid escalation. Leading your dog away from the area also gives you the chance to see if your pet is limping, bleeding, or showing signs of pain. 

If your canine companion is too injured or frightened to walk, you may try to pick them up - but remember that even the gentlest dog may nip or bite when they're frightened or hurt. 

Gather Information

If possible, speak to the dog's owner or guardian to obtain information about rabies vaccine status and get their contact information. This is useful for both you and the other dog's owner, in case any further medical issues arise after the bite. 

It is also possible that, if the incident took place on property belonging to someone, their insurance may help to pay for some of the veterinary costs related to the bite. 

Assess Their Injury

How can you tell how bad a dog bite is? It can range from a little nick in the skin to severe multiple wounds that need immediate veterinary intervention. Even the most experienced dog owner benefits from having their dog assessed and treated by a professional veterinarian, as even the most minor puncture or cuts are at risk of infection without proper medical treatment.

If your dog acts lethargic, has difficulty breathing, or vomits after being bitten by another animal, this is a veterinary emergency and you should head to the vet right away. 

How Vets Treat Dog Bites

If your dog's bite wound is on the smaller side and doesn't require surgery, the vet will inspect the wound, shave down the hair around the injury site, disinfect and clean it, and begin a course of antibiotics to prevent infection. If your dog is experiencing pain, the veterinarian may also prescribe pain medication for them. 

In scenarios of more severe or infected dog bites, the treatment might necessitate your dog to undergo anesthesia. If the bite punctures deep, or a deep pocket or infection is found, your vet or vet surgeon might recommend surgery to remove the damaged tissues and place a drain for a few days. Around 2 weeks later, any stitches remaining should be removed by the vet. 

In serious cases, your dog's injury could require diagnostic tools like X-rays or ultrasounds to identify any broken bones and see if the chest or abdominal cavities have been damaged. Based on your vet's assessment (and the rabies status of the dog that bit your pet), your dog may need to be quarantined for 10 days and/or receive a rabies booster shot. 

Preventing Infections After a Dog Bite

The most important thing to do after your dog is bitten by another dog is to prevent infection from taking hold. Your vet will likely prescribe a course of antibiotics for your dog that must be completed. You must also prevent your dog from licking or scratching at their wound. Your vet may use bandages, but either way, other barriers like Elizabethan collars (a.k.a. E-collar or 'cone of shame') can prevent a dog from irritating or contaminating the wound.

For dogs that don't adjust to wearing their cone, there are other options available at most pet supply stores. There are soft versions of the E-Collar that still prevents wound licking, but may allow your dog easier maneuverability. 

There are also specialty 'shirts' to cover pet incisions from licking or nibbling, but speak to your vet about whether this type of coverage is appropriate for your dog's injury. 

Moving on After Your Dog Has Been Bitten

It may take a while for your dog to get back to feeling their regular, happy-go-lucky selves - especially if they were anxious, to begin with. One of the best ways to start moving forward after such an incident is to identify the factors that led to the situation. 

If your dog was bitten by another dog in your household, don't punish the aggressor - it could make them jumpier and even more likely to bite. Instead, try to figure out what caused the altercation.

If your dog gets nervous around new dogs (or other dogs at all), don't try to force interactions. It's worth the time to learn the signs of discomfort and relaxation in dogs in general, and your dog in particular. Every pet is as unique as their human, after all. You may need to change plans if a crowded dog park or noisy doggy daycare sends your dog's tail between their legs. You must care for your dog's confidence and well-being, as well as their physical health. 

With support, love, and patience from you and your dog's compassionate vet team, your pooch has a greater chance of being their happy self again. 

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. Please make an appointment with your vet to accurately diagnose your pet's condition.

Has your dog been bitten by another dog? Contact our Hopkinsville vets right away to have your pup looked after.

New Patients Welcome

Skyline Animal Clinic is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Hopkinsville companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

Contact (270) 886-6321