Animal Bites Treatment

Not only can an animal bite be very scary for a child, but it can also cause issues such as infections and, in the worst cases, severe wounds, viruses, or diseases.

How to Care For Animal Bites

In the case of a child having a minor bite, take these steps:

  • Immediately wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water
  • Apply antibiotic ointment if possible
  • Cover the wound with a clean bandage or gauze
  • Apply pressure if necessary

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When to Seek Immediate Medical Attention

Animal bites in children should always be taken seriously. If you are unsure of the severity or if exposure to disease is possible, seek professional help as soon as possible.

If bleeding is severe or continuous, apply pressure with a clean, fresh cloth or a bandage. Seek medical help if bleeding doesn’t stop or if it appears that stitches may be needed.

Other times to seek medical care:

  • If you see signs of infection
  • If you notice signs of rabies or other zoonotic diseases
  • If you have concerns or questions about animal-transmitted diseases/viruses
  • If you notice oozing or swelling, or if your child is in intense pain

Signs of Infection

There are many symptoms of infection when it comes to animal bites in children. If you are concerned or have questions regarding a possible infection, you should seek medical attention or proper at-home care.

Signs of infection in an animal bite:

  • Pus, oozing, or buildup
  • Warmth surrounding the bite
  • Lines, spots, or severe redness appearing around the bite
  • Fever and/or chills
  • Increasing pain
  • Blisters
  • Swelling

Possible Zoonotic Diseases

The main conditions one can contract or develop from an animal bite are rabies and tetanus. Tetanus may develop from bacteria originating from the animal bite, while rabies is spread through the saliva of an infected animal.

Symptoms and signs of rabies include:

  • Pain or fatigue in the muscles
  • Difficulty swallowing and/or excess saliva
  • Irritability or agitation
  • Confusion
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Anxiety, fear, or delirium
  • Hyperactivity or fatigue
  • Headache
  • Possible coma

Symptoms and signs of tetanus include:

  • Involuntary muscle spasms, commonly in the stomach
  • Cramping in the jaw
  • Muscle stiffness or pain
  • Seizures
  • Headache
  • Problems swallowing
  • Fast heart rate or changes in blood pressure


After seeking professional care when necessary, actions should still be taken to keep the wound in the best shape possible to prevent infections and promote healing. To care for a child’s animal bite, follow these tips:

  • Clean the wound every day with soap and warm, running water
  • Apply an antibiotic cream or ointment
  • Always use a clean bandage and change it daily or as needed
  • Watch for infections

How to Prevent Animal Bites and Diseases

To prevent animal bites in general, a few steps can be taken, such as:

  • Educate children on how to react around animals, especially wild animals
  • Teach children not to harm or tease any animals and not to bother aggressive or unsuspecting animals
  • Inform children to never touch or try to catch any wild or stray animals

To help prevent infections, diseases, and other complications, consider these steps:

  • Always seek professional help when concerns arise
  • Keep children up to date on immunizations and necessary shots
  • Use proper care and keep a close eye on wounds
  • Keep wounds clean and covered when needed