Wild animals usually avoid people. They might attack, however, if they feel threatened, are sick, or are protecting their young or territory. Attacks by pets are more common. Animal bites rarely are life-threatening, but if they become infected, you can develop serious medical problems.
To prevent animal bites and complications from bites
- Never pet, handle, or feed unknown animals
- Leave snakes alone
- Watch your children closely around animals
- Vaccinate your cats, ferrets, and dogs against rabies
- Spay or neuter your dog to make it less aggressive
- Get a tetanus booster if you have not had one recently
- Wear boots and long pants when you are in areas with venomous snakes
If an animal bites you, clean the wound with soap and water as soon as possible. The victim should seek medical attention if necessary.
- Wash the bite area with soap and water; apply pressure with sterile gauze or a clean cloth if the bite is bleeding.
- If the bleeding has stopped, apply antibiotic ointment.
- Cover the area with a bandage or sterile gauze.
- Offer the victim acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain.
We also offer a free certificate of completion. To receive the certificate you must pass a 50-question test with a score of 70 or higher. Check our Basic First Aid Certificate of Completion page for more information.