Emergency advice

How to help someone with an animal bite:

  1. Thoroughly wash wound.
  2. Raise and support it.
  3. If deep, dirty, or you suspect rabies, call 999 straight away.

Bites from sharp, pointed teeth cause deep puncture wounds. This can lead to tissue damage which will allow germs to enter the skin. You will need to treat any bite that breaks the skin, to prevent a risk of infection. 

What to do

  1. Wash the wound thoroughly with soap and warm water to reduce the risk of infection being transferred from the animal.

    Apply pressure to control any bleeding.

  2. Raise and support the wound and pat it dry, preferably with clean gauze from your first aid kit. Then cover it with a sterile wound dressing.

    Go to A&E if the wound is large or deep, or you cannot stop the bleeding. Call 999 or 112 if you cannot go to A&E.

    Seek medical assistance or contact 111 if:

    • There may still be objects (teetc, hair or dirt) in the wound.
    • The bite may have become infected - hot, swollen, redder / darker, smells unpleasant, leaks pus or the person has a temperature.
    • The bite is on the hands, feet or face.
    • There is a risk of rabies.
    • If the casualty is not sure if they've had a tetanus jab in the last 10 years or the wound is dirty.
    • If the bite is from another human, there's also a small risk of getting hepatitis or the HIV/AIDS virus.  Advise the casualty to seek medical help straight away.
    • Take paracetamol or ibuprofen to ease any pain or swelling - children under 16 should not be given aspirin.


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