Devil dogs. We all groom a few.
In most cases these dogs are not evil, the "devil dog" comment is in jest. Most dog bites in the grooming environment seem to be caused by dogs that are un-socialized, frightened, or in pain from physical ailments such as arthritis which are aggravated by the sort of motions that grooming involves. No matter the reason, it is a good idea for all pet stylists to be prepared in case of a bite. Good first aid kits are available at a reasonable price at most pharmacy's or stores such as Wal-Mart, and we should all keep one or more on hand. Replace or refresh the kit as needed. I would recommend that a bottle of Betadine be purchased to keep with the kit, and perhaps extra gauze and elastic "Vet Wrap" to cover a wound.
The above site has a wonderful description of how to clean a bite wound. You can print this out and keep it in your kit. The directions from the site follow:
" Allow the puncture wound to bleed for a few minutes (providing that the blood flow is not excessive.) This is a very effective way to flush bacteria from the dog bite wound. For lacerations, apply pressure to stop the bleeding at the site of the dog bite.
- Wash the wound with anti-bacterial soap for five full minutes. This is a vital step to combat wound infection.
- Flush the wound for an additional five full minutes, allowing water to run into the dog bite wound.
- Pat the area dry with a gauze pad. If gauze is not available, use a paper towel. Avoid towels, as towels tend to harbor large amounts of bacteria.
- Pour a generous amount of Betadine into the dog bite wounds and saturate the skin around the wounds as well. This no-sting antiseptic solution will disinfect the wound sites. If Betadine is not available, hydrogen peroxide will suffice.
- Wipe up drips with sterile gauze, but leave a one-inch diameter around each wound. Allow the wound and the skin within a one-inch diameter of each dog bite wound to air dry. Do not blow on the skin to dry the Betadine (or hydrogen peroxide) – this contaminates the wound.
- Using a sterile gauze pad, apply a generous amount of antibiotic ointment into each wound.
- Cover the dog bite wounds with a sterile bandage. Rolled gauze works best for limbs, while it's easier to tape down sterile gauze squares on the trunk or thigh.
- Apply ice compresses to the dog bite wounds. This will help to limit the swelling which is responsible for a large amount of the pain that's associated with a dog bite."
It is my honest wish that you never experience a serious dog bite, but if you do, being prepared with tools and information how to treat the injury before you seek medical care can make a real difference in the outcome of the bite. And yes, you SHOULD seek medical care. Bites often become infected. The shape of the dogs teeth actually inject bacteria from the dogs mouth deep into the wound. Serious bites almost always require oral antibiotics.
Because bites happen, it is important to be sure the pets you groom are up to date on their rabies vaccine. Be certain you have the correct contact information for the pet owner, including the name and number of their veterinarian.
Every groomer I know has exceptionally good reflexes... but if a "devil dog" strikes and hits, we should have the tools on hand to begin good wound care.