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Animal Bites – How To Prevent & Treat
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Animal Bites – How To Prevent & Treat


It isn’t a secret that most people love dogs, cats, and other exotic animals. That’s why 57% of American households have at least 1 pet. Not only do pets provide companionship, but they are often fun to be around and are interesting to watch. Dogs are the most popular household pet in America, closely followed by cats, with fish coming in third. There are other pets that Americans adore, such as birds, reptiles, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, ferrets, and much more. While we love our furry, feathery, or scaly friends, sometimes they bite. After all, they are animals even if we consider them part of the family and they sometimes revert back to their natural defense instincts if they feel threatened or scared. Animal bites are not something to look over, especially if it is a severe bite. Our loving household pets are not the only animals that can bite us. Raccoons, squirrels, possums, armadillos, and other wild animals can attack if provoked or spooked. While wild animals typically leave humans alone, it is important to be aware of your surroundings and to not interact with them. If you are bitten by a wild animal, it is always good to go get that bite looked at since you don’t know where that animal has been or if it has any diseases.

Types of Animal Bites

There are minor bites and there are more severe bites. Minor bites can usually be treated at home with simple over the counter remedies, such as antibacterial ointment and clean gauze or band-aids. Minor bites typically will stop bleeding in under 5 minutes and can be cleaned and proceed to heal on their own without medical care. More severe bites occur when the puncture wound is deep and/or large. Typically, these bites need medical attention because the bleeding continues and stitches are required. More severe bites have a greater risk of infection so it is best to let the professionals properly clean and treat the wound. If there are multiple bites or the skin is torn, seek immediate medical attention. These kinds of bites can be life threatening and need to be treated right away. If you are unsure about the degree of the bite, call your doctor and they can tell you if you need to go seek medical attention. If a child is bitten, always call the pediatrician or an emergency room if it is after regular business hours.

How to treat bites

To care for a minor animal bite or claw wound, such as one that only breaks the skin, take these steps:

  • Wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Apply an antibiotic cream or ointment and cover the bite with a clean bandage.
  • Monitor the bite over the next few days to make sure it is healing properly, if signs of infection occur, seek medical attention.

When to seek medical attention

Seek prompt medical care if:

  • The wound is a deep puncture or you’re not sure how serious it is.
  • The skin is badly torn, crushed or bleeding significantly — first apply pressure with a bandage or clean cloth to stop the bleeding.
  • You notice increasing swelling, redness, pain or oozing, which are warning signs of infection.
  • You have questions about your risk of rabies or about rabies prevention. If the bite was caused by a cat or a dog, try to confirm that the animal’s rabies vaccination is up to date. If the bite was caused by a wild animal, seek advice from your doctor about which animals are most likely to carry rabies.
  • You haven’t had a tetanus shot in the past 10 years — or five years if the wound is deep or dirty. You may need a booster shot.

Bats often carry rabies and can infect humans without leaving obvious signs of a bite. This is why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people in contact with bats — or even those who are sleeping and awaken to find a bat in the bedroom — seek medical advice about rabies shots, even if they don’t think they’ve been bitten.

How to prevent bites

To prevent animal bites and complications from bites:

  • Never pet, handle, or feed unknown animals
  • Watch your children closely around animals
  • Don’t let your children put their faces in animal’s faces
  • Vaccinate your cats, ferrets, and dogs against rabies
  • Spay or neuter your dog to make it less aggressive
  • Get professional training for your dog
  • Get a tetanus booster if you have not had one recently
  • Leave snakes alone
  • Wear boots and long pants when you are in areas with venomous snakes

If an animal bites you, clean the wound with soap and water as soon as possible. Get medical attention if necessary.

Ready when you need us 

Regardless of what type of medical situation you may be facing, Community First ER is here to help. There’s no need to make an appointment, and you won’t have to wait. Our board-certified physicians and nurses will always be ready to see you. We understand that emergencies aren’t always convenient, which is why we do everything we can to make your experience with us as hassle-free as possible. From the moment you arrive at Community First ER to the moment you leave us our compassionate and knowledgeable staff will take care of you or your family member appropriately. If your condition warrants transportation to a local hospital, we can easily arrange this using our ambulance and helipad services. Our 9,000 square foot facility includes an onsite lab, radiology, and imaging services and is equipped to provide adult, pediatric, and adolescent emergency and critical care. We strive to provide the most effective and most efficient medical care in a stress-free and comfortable environment. 

We are here to help  

At Community First ER, we are committed to providing you the best possible care now and always. With adult and pediatric emergency care available, we have a team of board-certified medical and surgical specialists we consult to help manage our patients and their medical emergencies. We form relationships with local doctors to ensure that our patients have access to the best specialists for their individual needs. You can call ahead and discuss your symptoms at any time. 

We are Community First Emergency Room – committed to putting your community, health, and YOU FIRST, every day.

If you are a loved one experiencing an urgent or emergency medical issue, please contact us right away at (281) 343-3134

About Community First ER 

Emergency health care is a critical resource. Our commitment is to provide a personal, transparent, and concierge-driven emergency health care experience to our community members. Locally owned and operated by health care providers and partners we trust, we strive to support and create meaningful relationships with those around us. We exist to put your health and wellness first. For more information, visit our website at and engage with us on social media!