How to Care for a Dog Bitten by Another Dog

Not all fights are avoidable.
Not all fights are avoidable. (Image: Fox Photos/Valueline/Getty Images)

Bite wounds are very dangerous and always an emergency. Bite wounds often appear small and minor, but cause severe, hidden injuries, such as cracked or broken bones, damaged internal organs and severe damage to inner layers of the tissue. This is particularly true of dog bites. Furthermore, bite wounds are always contaminated, and often become infected even if the animal is on antibiotics. This is not an injury that you can treat at home. Veterinary care should be given immediately, or as soon as possible.

Things You'll Need

  • Muzzle or items to make a muzzle
  • Blankets, board or other items for lifting the dog (optional)
  • Blanket or towels for warmth
  • Hydrogen peroxide (optional)
  • Water
  • Gauze (optional)

Muzzle your dog before attempting to move or care for it. No matter how gentle your dog normally is, it may still bite out of pain, fear or confusion. Still traumatized by the attack of the other dog, it may even believe your touch is the other dog attacking again. If you don't have a muzzle, you can make a muzzle out of gauze, strips of fabric or other items. In the references below, you can find information on how to make a muzzle.

Move your dog as gently as possible and try to keep its body level and well supported. It may have broken bones or other injuries that you are unaware of. If possible, use a thick blanket, towel or board to lift a larger dog into a vehicle.

Wash the dog's wounds with plain water or hydrogen peroxide, if it will take more than a half-hour to get the dog to the veterinarian. If you are able to get to the veterinarian very quickly, skip this step.

Take the dog to the veterinarian. Do not skip seeing the veterinarian even if the dog seems okay and the wound seems small.

Ask someone at the scene to try to capture the dog that fought with your dog, so its owner can be found and you can find out if it has been vaccinated. Call animal control to take a report of the incident and to help with the other dog. The other dog should see a veterinarian right away, but try to have someone else take the dog, so your dog is not in the same vehicle or office with the dog it fought.

Follow your veterinarian's orders exactly. The veterinarian will prescribe antibiotics, and will give you instructions for cleaning the wound and changing any bandages. Since the risk of infection is very high with bite wounds, the instructions must be followed carefully.

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