How Serious is My Dog Bite Wound?

Last updated Monday, November 28th, 2022

Thinking about dog bites usually only comes to mind when you or someone you know has suffered from one. We all like to look at our 4-legged friends as wonderful companions. Unfortunately, not all experiences with dogs are positive and in situations where a dog has bitten a person or another animal, it can be a serious or even life-threatening situation that needs to be addressed immediately.

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Why Dog Bites can be Serious

Dog bites can have dangerous repercussions, which is why it is strongly advised to consult a doctor or nurse if there is any sign of damage to the skin or tissues.
There are several reasons to take a dog bite seriously. Dogs can be extremely strong and their bites can cause a ton of damage to body tissues. More often, though, the highest risk comes from the possibility of introducing dangerous bacteria into a human body, which can cause an infection that can range anywhere from uncomfortable to deadly.


Dogs and people both carry bacteria in the mouth, but those bacteria strains are not the same for both. Some of the bacteria in a dog’s saliva can cause dangerous infections to a human body. These infections, if left untreated, can lead to sepsis, which basically is where the body’s response to an infection damages itself.

Certain bacteria strains and infections, such as strep and staph infections can be treated easily with a course of antibiotics. Other infections are more difficult to treat. And there are yet other infections that can cause death if they are not treated even before symptoms are present.

Damage to Nerves

Nerves are one of the most important aspects of the human body, and without them, there would be no way for the brain to communicate with any other part of the body. Because we have so many nerves, it is not uncommon to suffer nerve damage from a dog bite.

Damage to nerves can range anywhere from slight tingling to numbness, all the way to unbearable pain. In addition, it is not always possible to repair damaged nerves. Nerve damage can be severe enough to require the amputation of the area of the dog bite, such as a hand or a leg. Removing a body part causes disfigurement, which is as much of a psychological issue as it is a physical issue.


An attack from a dog can cause permanent scaring and disfigurement. The location of the bite is very important when it comes to disfigurement, because some areas of the body are more sensitive than others to injury and some areas of the body cannot be covered to hide scaring.

If there is significant scaring to the face or body, many people will require reconstructive or plastic surgery. Unfortunately, some of those victims are left with permanent scars that can never be covered or fixed and they are left disfigured for life.

A dog bite to the face, as an example, can cause serious scaring and may require surgical repair. In the case of a bite to the face, if the eye is involved, it’s also possible to lose that eye. As wonderful as medical treatment is today, some things can just simply never be fixed or returned to normal.

Emotional Scars

The emotional scars left after being attacked by a dog are just as important, and in some cases, even more important than being left with physical body scars.
Many victims are never able to feel comfortable around a dog after a bite. It can cause serious trust issues and irrational thoughts.

It is also not uncommon for a dog bite victim to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In the more recent years, we’ve come to understand the significance of PTSD and the effect it can have on a human being.

The treatment of emotional scaring is just as important as the physical treatment. Finding a good therapist can make a huge difference in a person’s life.

Telltale Signs of a Serious Dog Bite

Some of the more serious signs of a bad dog bite are easy to spot, while others are more difficult to see. It is possible to see with the eye a laceration, but you can’t necessarily see a broken bone. It’s important to look for both the telltale signs while also keeping in mind where the pain is.

Symptoms to watch for include:

  • Bleeding from a puncture wound or torn skin
  • Pain at all levels of severity, from minor to debilitating
  • Signs of infection which includes redness, swelling, warmth, pus, or red streaks that radiate from the wound
  • Numbness or limitation of movement
  • Fever, diarrhea, stomach pain, vomiting, or the general feeling of being unwell

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