Can you shower after a dog bite? A Comprehensive Guide

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • If your doctor told you how to care for your wound, follow your doctors instructions. If you did not get instructions, follow this general advice:
    • After 24 to 48 hours, gently wash the wound with clean water 2 times a day. Do not scrub or soak the wound. Dont use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol, which can slow healing.
    • You may cover the wound with a thin layer of petroleum jelly, such as Vaseline, and a nonstick bandage.
    • Apply more petroleum jelly and replace the bandage as needed.
  • After you shower, gently dry the wound with a clean towel.
  • If your doctor has closed the wound, cover the bandage with a plastic bag before you take a shower.
  • A small amount of skin redness and swelling around the wound edges and the stitches or staples is normal. Your wound may itch or feel irritated. Do not scratch or rub the wound.
  • Ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter pain medicine, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve). Read and follow all instructions on the label.
  • Do not take two or more pain medicines at the same time unless the doctor told you to. Many pain medicines have acetaminophen, which is Tylenol. Too much acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be harmful.
  • If your bite puts you at risk for rabies, you will get a series of shots over the next few weeks to prevent rabies. Your doctor will tell you when to get the shots. It is very important that you get the full cycle of shots. Follow your doctors instructions exactly.
  • You may need a tetanus shot if you have not received one in the last 5 years.
  • If your doctor prescribed antibiotics, take them as directed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.
  • Content on HealthTap (including answers) should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and interactions on HealthTap do not create a doctor-patient relationship. Never disregard or delay professional medical advice in person because of anything on HealthTap. Call your doctor or 911 if you think you may have a medical emergency.HealthTap uses cookies to enhance your site experience and for analytics and advertising purposes. By using our website, you consent to our use of cookies. To learn more, please visit our

    Video.By using this service, some information may be shared with YouTube.

  • Always take steps to train your dog properly to reduce the risk of biting. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 19 Not Helpful 5
  • For information on the best ways to prevent dog bites from happening in the first place, look at: How to Prevent Dog Bites. ⧼thumbs_response⧽ Helpful 2 Not Helpful 2
  • Advertisement

    How To Treat A Dog Bite Wound

    Dogs may be man’s best friend, but even the friendliest furry friend can bite. More than 4.5 million people report being bitten by dogs each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Here are some fast facts for you:

    “If you’re bitten by a dog, it is important to seek medical attention,” said Dorian Drigalla, MD, FACEP, emergency medicine physician on the medical staff at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Temple. “It doesn’t necessarily have to be that second, minute or even within an hour, but waiting a couple of days is a bad idea.”

    So, you were bitten by a dog. Now what? Here’s how to care for your bite injury.