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What are some common health complications after a dog bite?

When a dog clamps down on your limbs with its mandible, it is not just the initial anguish and pain that you have to worry about. Dog bites can lead to a range of side effects that can impact your health and well-being.

Understanding these prevalent side effects is a great way to ensure you take the necessary first steps for proper treatment.


About 1 in 5 people who struggle with dog bites end up needing some form of medical attention. One of the most immediate concerns following a dog bite is the risk of infection and possible contagions that can leave you with long-term health complications. Dogs’ mouths are teeming with bacteria, and when their teeth puncture your skin, these bacteria can enter your body.

Typical signs of infection include redness, swelling, warmth and pus at the bite site. To prevent infection, it is important to cleanse the wound thoroughly with soap and water and seek medical attention promptly.


Tetanus is another potential side effect of a dog bite. This happens when a bacterium enters your body through open wounds. Symptoms of tetanus include muscle stiffness and spasms, difficulty swallowing and fever. If you have not had a tetanus shot in the last ten years, your healthcare provider may recommend one after a dog bite to prevent this serious condition.

Nerve damage

Dog bites can also cause nerve damage. When a dog’s teeth pierce your skin, they may damage nerves located beneath the surface. Nerve damage can lead to numbness, tingling or even loss of sensation in the affected area. In severe cases, it may require surgical intervention to repair the damaged nerves.


Dog bites can result in permanent scarring, especially if the wound penetrates deeply or if it becomes infected. Proper wound care, including keeping the wound unsullied and covered, can help minimize potential scarring. In some cases, cosmetic procedures may be necessary to improve the appearance of scars.

The time after a bite may leave you feeling bewildered and overwhelmed at what trajectory your injury will follow. Prompt and effective treatment is just the first part of dealing with an angry or vicious dog.


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