First aid treatment for animal bites

Essential first aid for animal bites: What you need to know

Animal bites may not be a daily concern, but they are common and can lead to serious health issues if not properly managed. Understanding how to treat these bites effectively is crucial for everyone, whether from a household pet, a farm animal, or wildlife. In this blog, Rose outlines essential first aid steps for treating animal bites, emphasising the importance of proper care through key statistics and insights into relevant UK legislation and best practices.

Understanding the risks of animal bites

Animal bites pose a significant risk due to the potential for severe infections and diseases such as tetanus and pasteurella. In the UK, several thousand individuals seek medical attention for animal bites each year, highlighting the need for immediate and effective first aid. Quick response not only aids in recovery but also minimises the risk of complications, making knowledge of first aid procedures essential for all.

Key definitions

  • Animal bite - An injury caused by the bite of an animal, which may penetrate the skin and lead to infection.
  • First aid - Immediate care provided to someone suffering from an injury or illness to prevent further harm until full medical treatment is available.

Relevant UK legislation includes

  • The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 ensures public safety in various environments, indirectly supporting training and preparedness in first aid.
  • The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH) highlights the importance of managing health risks from biological agents, such as bacteria transferred by animal bites.

First aid steps for animal bites

  • Immediate care - Ensure your safety first from further attacks. Calm and reassure the bite victim if you are helping someone else.
  • Wound management - Wash the bite wound under running water and then with soap to remove saliva and contaminants. Apply an antiseptic to the cleaned wound to minimise infection risk.
  • Medical attention - Cover the wound with a sterile bandage and seek professional medical advice, especially for deep bites, bleed excessively, or show signs of infection.
  • Documentation and reporting - If the bite is severe, it may need to be reported to the appropriate authorities, especially if it involves dangerous or unvaccinated animals.

Preventing animal bites

Education on preventing animal bites is as essential as knowing how to treat them. Avoid interacting with unfamiliar animals, supervise children around pets, and learn the body language of animals to recognise signs of distress or aggression.


Understanding and applying first aid for animal bites is crucial for everyone, not just healthcare providers. Knowing how to respond effectively to these incidents can dramatically reduce the risk of severe infections and complications.

Don't wait until an emergency happens. Equip yourself with the knowledge and skills to handle animal bites and other first aid emergencies confidently. Click here to explore our certified first aid courses. Empower yourself and your loved ones with the ability to respond promptly and efficiently in a crisis. Sign up today and ensure you are prepared to take action when it matters most!

Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Always seek professional medical assistance in emergency situations.

About the author

Rose Mabiza

Rose has dedicated over 15 years to improving health and social care quality through practice, targeted education and training. Her extensive experience includes working with older adults, individuals with mental health conditions, and people with autism and learning disabilities.

Essential first aid for animal bites: What you need to know - ComplyPlus™ - The Mandatory Training Group UK -

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