One frequent concern associated with dogs is the occurrence of “biting” incidents, where individuals may either “bite someone” or “get bitten.”
To address what symptoms or illnesses one should be cautious of in the unfortunate event of a dog bite, and how to respond if one’s own dog bites another person, this article compiles essential guidelines.
Diseases Associated with Dog Bites
Upon experiencing a dog bite, it’s crucial to be aware of the symptoms and potential risks of various illnesses.
This section offers a comprehensive overview of diseases that may result from a dog bite.
Risks of Tetanus: Watch for Oral Paralysis
Among the medical concerns following a dog bite is tetanus, primarily caused when tetanus bacteria, commonly found in soil, enter the body.
Initial symptoms often include oral paralysis, muscle aches, and facial spasms.
Failure to treat tetanus can escalate to muscle contractions and even generalized paralysis, with fatal outcomes. It is a hazardous condition.
Though tetanus vaccinations are mandatory in Japan, individuals with weakened immune systems, like children and the elderly, remain at risk.
Prompt cleaning and disinfection of the bite wound are essential, as is ongoing health monitoring due to the incubation period.
Tetanus prevention vaccines are available, and consultation with a healthcare provider is advised after a dog bite.
International Concerns: Rabies Accompanied by High Fever and Seizures
Rabies is typically the first illness that comes to mind following a dog bite.
In US, due to regulations such as the Rabies Prevention Act, the disease has been effectively eradicated for over half a century.
However, reports of rabies persist in other countries.
Symptoms of rabies include elevated temperature, reduced appetite, hydrophobia, and seizures, and there is no established treatment for the condition.
Immediate medical care is advised if bitten by a dog whose rabies vaccination status is unknown or unconfirmed.
Monitor for Swelling and Fever at the Wound Site
Should the bite wound become warm, there is a possibility of a Pasteurella infection.
This bacterial infection occurs in about 75% of dogs and generally leads to swelling and pus formation in the affected area.
Severe cases may result in complications such as respiratory illnesses and osteomyelitis.
Particular caution is warranted for individuals with compromised immune systems, like young children and the elderly.
Even for minor wounds like scratches, medical consultation is recommended.
When Bitten by a Dog, Seek Medical Attention
In the event of a dog bite, it is recommended to promptly clean and disinfect the wound, followed by seeking medical help.
When deciding on which medical department to approach after a dog bite, it’s essential to know the appropriate choice.
Additionally, the matter of insurance coverage for dog bite incidents should be considered.
Choosing a Medical Clinic After a Dog Bite
In case of a dog bite, it is advisable to seek medical attention from a surgical specialist with expertise in wound treatment.
Depending on the severity of the wound, options include consulting a dermatologist or an orthopedic surgeon, making a visit to a general hospital a prudent choice.
Understanding Insurance Coverage
If bitten by a dog, most health insurance policies typically cover the expenses.
However, in rare instances, health insurance coverage might not apply, potentially necessitating private medical treatment.
Private treatment could involve using medications or procedures not approved by the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare, resulting in personal responsibility for the entire treatment cost.
In such scenarios, it is advisable to explore alternative hospitals or consult with the insurance provider.
What to Do after a Dog Bite Incident
Dogs are not known for biting people recklessly and without cause. There are specific reasons behind a dog’s tendency to bite, which makes it important to understand their behavior. For dog owners, it’s crucial to comprehend the factors that might lead to a dog bite and to take the dog’s emotions into consideration.
Understanding the Reasons for Dog Bites and Taking Preventive Measures
Dog bites are often attributed to defensive behavior. Puppies might engage in playful nipping or gentle mouthing due to teething discomfort, but these actions rarely result in serious injuries. When a dog bites with more intensity, they possess the capability to cause harm, such as bone fractures. However, if the inflicted injury is minor, the dog might not be attacking with full force.
Several reasons can trigger a dog to bite a person:
- Painful or Distressing Experiences: Dogs might bite when they have undergone painful or distressing situations.
- Surprising and Frightening Moments: Dogs can bite if they are caught off guard or experience fear.
- Protective Instinct: Dogs may bite to shield their owner or defend a cherished toy.
- Excited State: Dogs engrossed in play or other activities might bite due to heightened excitement.
- Defensive Reaction to Touch: Injured dogs unexpectedly touched and in pain might bite instinctively.
All these reasons stem from a defensive behavior, often triggered by surprise, fear, or the instinct to protect. Strong owner leadership plays a vital role in addressing these issues. To prevent dog bites, owners should consider the dog’s perspective, identify the root cause of the bite, and take appropriate preventive actions.
Can Dogs Experience Regular Stress?
When an owner doesn’t assert strong leadership, a pet may feel the need to protect the owner, leading to a state of constant vigilance. This situation can result in significant stress for the pet.
Establishing a sense of strong leadership by the owner helps the pet trust that they will be protected in various situations.
While it’s important to establish leadership during the puppy stage, training can still establish the owner as the leader even if the pet is already an adult.
For the pet to live comfortably, it’s essential for the owner to assume a leadership role, and for the pet to take a subordinate position. This dynamic is crucial for a dog’s well-being within human society and to ensure a secure life.
Dogs Might Bite Due to Intimidation or Fear
Similar to humans, dogs also experience discomfort when they prefer not to be touched or left alone.
During such instances, if there is an attempt to force interaction, dogs might resort to biting as a response to feeling threatened.
Furthermore, if an unfamiliar third party suddenly intervenes, dogs might bite out of fear or surprise.
Additionally, scolding and physical punishment by an owner can induce fear, cornering the dog and triggering biting as a last resort.
As a responsible owner, understanding the dog’s emotions rather than projecting one’s own feelings onto the pet is crucial when approaching them.
Teaching Dogs about Biting and Pain
Dogs need to be trained to understand that “biting” equals “pain.”
The best time to begin this training is during the puppy stage.
Puppies engage in mild biting due to teething discomfort and training for tooth care during this stage. This makes it an opportune time to prevent biting habits.
Even if the biting is gentle, it’s important not to disregard the behavior.
In the event that a dog bites, it’s recommended to quickly use concise commands like “No” or “Stop.”
A stern tone and direct eye contact can be effective in conveying the message.
Interrupt playtime if biting occurs during play.
While it’s essential to communicate that biting is unacceptable, teaching dogs not to bite anything at all might lead to stress.
Providing appropriate chew toys is also crucial, helping to alleviate stress.
Addressing Dog Anxiety as an Owner
Inadequate daily interaction, irregular walks, and extended periods of absence can trigger significant anxiety in dogs.
If this anxiety persists, it can develop into “separation anxiety.”
Separation anxiety arises due to psychological instability and can result in problematic behaviors like accidents, excessive barking, destruction, and even biting.
Dogs have a pack mentality and struggle when left alone without a leader for extended durations.
To prevent anxiety, it’s crucial to dedicate short daily periods for interaction.
During these sessions, offering praise and attention is important.
On days off and similar occasions, increasing playtime and extending walk durations are vital for building a strong bond.
What to Do If Your Dog Bites Someone
In the unlikely event that a dog injures a third party by biting them, it’s important for the owner to know the appropriate course of action to take.
Pet owners should be prepared for such situations and respond calmly and knowledgeably.
Here, guidance will be provided on how to handle the situation when a dog bites a person.
Report the Incident to the Public Health Center
When a pet dog bites a third party, seeking immediate medical attention is crucial.
Administer first aid and take the person to a medical facility.
The owner is responsible for covering the expenses incurred at the hospital.
Reporting doesn’t end with seeking medical attention. Various reports need to be submitted to the public health center.
These reports include the “Dog Bite Report,” “Verification Diagnosis Certificate,” and a copy of the victim’s diagnosis report.
The “Dog Bite Report” must be submitted within 24 hours, and the “Verification Diagnosis Certificate” within 48 hours, requiring prompt action.
If a dog has bitten a person, the owner must report the “Dog Bite Report” to the public health center within 24 hours.
Additionally, the owner needs to visit an animal hospital within 48 hours to obtain a veterinarian’s examination certificate. This certificate should also be submitted to the public health center.
Moreover, the victim must receive medical attention and obtain a physician’s diagnosis report due to the risk of tetanus and rabies.
Process at the Health Center
At the health center, inquiries are made regarding the truth of the biting incident, the circumstances in which it occurred, and any issues with the dog’s keeping.
Detailed information about the situation and environment during the biting incident is thoroughly discussed. The pet owner should calmly provide accurate information.
Possibility of Euthanasia
Biting a person doesn’t automatically lead to euthanasia for a dog.
Avoiding reporting to the animal shelter out of fear of euthanasia can lead to legal violations and increase the likelihood of euthanasia.
Owners must report to the animal shelter as required.
Euthanasia might be considered in the following cases:
- If a court issues a euthanasia order after prosecution.
- If severe biting causes significant harm.
- If the victim frequently requests euthanasia for the dog.
Euthanasia is more likely during legal proceedings.
However, if matters can be resolved through discussions, the chances of euthanasia can be reduced.
Owners should acknowledge when their pet has bitten someone, express sincere apologies, and show a respectful attitude towards the victim.
The mentioned dog typically avoids biting people intentionally.
There is consistently an underlying cause for a dog’s biting behavior.
Owners have a crucial role in identifying the specific cause and addressing it to discourage their dog from biting humans.
In instances where a dog bites someone unrelated to the owner, there exists a potential worst-case scenario, which is the consideration of euthanasia.
Should an owner’s dog bite another individual and cause harm, the owner holds the responsibility for the consequences.
Nevertheless, it is the dog that ultimately suffers negative outcomes.
Regardless of the breed’s size, inadequate training can result in the potential for harm to individuals due to their significant biting strength.
A dog’s apparent calmness at home doesn’t guarantee similar behavior around all people.
To ensure a pet dog’s successful integration into human society, the owner bears the responsibility of providing appropriate training.
To safeguard the well-being of the cherished dog, comprehensive training is imperative to prevent biting incidents.