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Bites from animals

dog; bite; animal; pet; claws; cat; scratch; dog bite; human bite; mouse; first aid; ;


The most common animal bites

Children are sometimes bitten by their own or their friends’ pets.

catAny animals that have claws or teeth will use them to defend themselves when they are frightened. Animals have rights too and need to be treated with respect and care by humans.

dogIt is wise not to touch an animal that is eating or sleeping.

Children have to learn how to behave towards animals.

Animals need to be trained in how to behave towards humans.

Even a small creature like a mouse can nip a finger.

See our topic Pets - keeping yourself safe, to learn more about keeping yourself safe with pets around.

How to deal with animal bites

  • Wash the area very carefully with water and antiseptic, or soap.
  • mozzie biteUse ice to keep the swelling down.
  • Apply an antiseptic. Your pharmacist will be able tell you what to use if you don't have any at home.
  • Cover with a clean dressing or plaster, but take the plaster off every day to make sure the bitten place is healing well.
  • Look for signs of an infection, (ie. redness, swelling, pain, tenderness and the infected part often feels hot to touch). 
  • Have mum, dad or a trusted adult check out the bite. If there is infection, you need to see a doctor.
  • You may need to see a doctor in case you need stiches.   
  • Check if you need an anti-tetanus shot.
  • If the bite is deep or there are many bites see your doctor at your local clinic or you may need to go to a hospital.

Humans are animals too!

calling for helpSometimes you may have an accident where a friend’s tooth makes a hole in your skin!

You may have a younger brother or sister who is going through a biting people phase! You might accidentally hit someone in the face while playing sport and his/her teeth could break your skin.

Follow all the first aid hints and see a doctor if the bite gets red and swollen.

Animal bites and human bites can easily get infected. It is really important to keep them clean and to see a doctor quickly if there are signs of an infection.

Dr Kate says:

Dr Kate
"Never touch any animal that you don’t know (even if it looks really cute) unless the owner is there and says that it is OK for you to touch it.

Remember: stand still if a dog jumps at you. Don' run or he may think you want to play. Move slowly away.

Make sure you train your dog not to jump up at other people.

Some people are allergic to cats or dogs, so shut your pet away when they visit.

It is not a good idea to pick up or pet wild animals in the bush even if they look really cute and friendly. If they get scared they will try to defend themselves and you could be hurt.

If you see a snake, back away slowly, don't try to pick it up or kill it.

Our topic on Bites and stings can give you more advice."


Some advice from Rachel
"Treat your pets very well or maybe they will bite or scratch. Back away from strange dogs or cats."

"Never go into a yard or house where there is a dog unless the owner is with you. Even the friendliest dogs know their job is to protect their family and property." Gabriel

Beware of the kitty
When cats wag their tails it means they’re getting angry.
If you don't stop touching them they sometimes hiss.
If you’re not careful they scratch or bite you.

Oh. What a bite!

I've been stung by mosquitoes,
Bitten by head lice,
Pecked by a budgie
And nipped at by mice.
Think they were painful?
Then you’d be wrong.
The bite that hurt the most
Was when I bit my tongue!


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We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.


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