Canines are all over the earth and biting is considered to be instinctive and one of their favorite things to do. Most dogs begin teething at 3-week-old and they are often seen mouthing and nipping everything around them either as a playful or aggressive behavior.
But, what really happens when you get a bite from a 2-month-old puppy?
Normally, a 2-month-old puppy’s bite is not considered to be very harmful; however, these pups may bite hard sometimes, leading to injuries and potentially lethal infections. It is important to put your pooch under control and teach them that it is not okay to bite.
If you are not aware of these deadly infections and injuries then this article is surely for you
Common Injuries You Can Get From A Puppy Bite
As an owner, we think our puppies are harmless but we are wrong about them. Usually, puppies attack during aggressive play but their teeth are sharp enough to tear your skin and soft tissues of your body and can lead to some severe injuries. Some common injuries you can get from a puppy bite are discussed below.
When a puppy bites you, its pointed teeth can easily get penetrated and tear your skin called puncture wounds. These lesions normally appear as small openings on the skin surface, but they are deep into the flesh and can damage the tissue layers with less or no bleeding.
Wounds caused by a puppy bite may not be much serious and can be treatable at home; if a puppy bites you, wash the affected area immediately with soap and warm water, afterward apply an antibiotic cream to prevent any virus or bacteria attack, and cover your skin with a bandage, because puncture wounds are prone to infections.
In severe cases, if you observe bleeding is continuous then seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Sometimes wounds caused by puppy bites may result in leaving a scar on the body. Facial scars are the most common and visible ones as compared to other physical scars. These marks are very common on children’s faces and necks and can be irregular in shape, with uneven edges, and vary in color during healing.
Normally, puppy bite scars are mild and the affected patch can vanish quickly, but in extreme cases, if the bite pierces the dermis (third layer of skin) then this bite might be deep and severe, leaving the bite mark on the skin for about one year or until it heals properly.
Scarring on legs or arms can be covered by cloths, but a prominent scar on the face can reduce confidence, especially in children and the victim may become emotionally damaged and they begin to consider that this scar is permanent with them.
However, it’s important to visit a doctor soon after a severe injury; he will clean the wound and may recommend topical ointments, otherwise, your wound may leave a bad scar on your body part. Some other modern treatments to remove permanent dark scars are laser treatments and chemical peels etc.
Nerve And Muscle Injuries
The bites from your young pup are not limited to mild punctures or after scars only; rather a single intense bite from your puppy can lead to extreme damage via nerve and muscle injuries. Normally, nerve injuries eventually lead to muscle damage and sensation loss.
Types of Nerve injuries:
Neurapraxia: This least severe nerve injury occurs when the axon (a nerve fiber that is responsible to transmit messages away from the body) is stretched but not torn. This injury is responsible for temporary sensory and motor loss as well.
This mild nerve injury can stop the signal transmission, causing the muscles to not respond properly resulting in loss of sensations.
Treatment is possible and the patient may recover completely, but if the compression on the nerve is prolonged then it may result in permanent loss of sensations.
Axonotmesis: This is a more severe condition than neurapraxia, in which axons get crushed, torn, and detaches from the cell body of a neuron. Victims of Axonotmesis may suffer from permanent sensation and movement loss or even paralysis.
Recovery from this injury is extremely slow and the patient may take months and years to recover.
Neurotmesis: This is the most acute nerve damage condition, in which the axon is destroyed or split up, the protective Myelin sheath cells of neurons torn apart, resulting in acute pain, numbness, loss of movement, and sensation, partial or total paralysis.
Neurotmesis victims require instant medical attention; however, recovery from this injury is slow or may be incomplete.
Types of Muscle Injuries:
Muscle Atrophy: Most people suffer from muscle atrophy as a consequence of a dog bite and lose 20-40 of their body muscles, it is a condition in which muscle tissues decrease in size due to degeneration of cells and loss of nerve supply to them.
This muscle injury is treatable with daily exercise and a healthy diet. Your physician may advise you on different therapies even if you are unable to move your joint; still, you have to perform the exercise by using a splint for the sake of quick recovery.
Possible Puppy Bite Infections
If you are severely bitten by a puppy during play and you observe the infected area is not healing but rather becoming red, swollen, and more painful, or affecting your overall health, then these are some common signs that the wound area is under infection. Open wounds are more susceptible to infections. Some possible dangerous infections you can get from puppy bites are as follows:
Rabies is a viral infection from dogs present in dogs’ saliva and transmitted through dog bites. Normally, puppies are not born with this infection but if they are bitten by a rabid animal, they may become infected.
Once entered into the human body, this deadly virus replicates and directly attacks your central nervous system causing inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. A rabies-infected person may show abnormal and confused behavior, hydrophobia, hallucination, and even insomnia that may proceed to coma and death.
Prompt medical attention and a series of HRIG shots will be given to you to save your life after being bitten by a rabid dog.
This infection is caused by bacteria named Clostridium tetani. This bacterium lives in feces and soil and is not harmful but when it comes in contact with open or puncture wounds they become fatal.
C. tetani is not found in your puppy’s saliva, the only way it can transmit to human beings is if your puppy is munching in mud and soon after he bites you with a muddy tongue, which already has been contaminated with bacteria.
However, under such conditions, you have to wash the wound immediately and seek medical help for better hygiene, stitches if needed, antibiotics and of course, a dose of tetanus vaccine is mandatory.
Staph & Strep
A puppy bite can lead to Staph and Strep, both deadly and fast-growing infections caused by Staphylococcus and Streptococcus bacteria. These bacteria are seen in the skin, respiratory tract, and saliva of dogs.
There are two ways a person can get infected with these bacteria, first if you accidentally get injured with an open wound and come in contact with your pooch’s skin, then there are maximum chances of getting attacked by these pathogens through the skin flora of a puppy instead of bite.
Secondly, Staph and Strep microbes can get inside your body through a puppy bite, because their saliva is contaminated with these bacteria and gets inside the bite wounds.
Staph and Strep infections are not much contagious to humans if good handwashing is practiced. Upon diagnosis they can be treated with certain antibiotics, however early detection of these infections is also crucial; otherwise, they may become severe and even lethal.
This is another pet-to-person bacterial infection, it can be found in your puppy’s mouth but this germ is not harmful to healthy persons and doesn’t attack them even after a bite. It is a very rare infection as there are only 0.67 cases in a million population. The targeted people of Capnocytophaga are those with weak immune systems i.e humans that are suffering from cancer, or HIV, or alcoholics who can become sick easily.
The spread of this infection is quite common through a pet bite or via close contact like cuddling and playing with puppies. People who are not resistant to diseases should talk to their doctor about how to interact with puppies and other dogs safely. One should take a continuous dose of antibiotics for better and quick recovery.
The video below contains a real-life story about a case of Capnocytophaga which led to amputation.
This gram-negative bacterium is present in the saliva of puppies and can pass on to humans if the pet punctures the skin by biting them. This bacterium is harmful and leaves symptoms of redness, swelling, tenderness, and pus around the wound within 24 hours after the bite.
The poor victim of Pasteurella should look for immediate medical help, if left untreated then may cause several complications like cellulitis (a bacterial skin infection), joint swelling, meningitis, pneumonia, urinary tract, blood, and eye infections, and may also cause pus around the wound.
Different types of antibiotics are available nowadays to reduce the risk of Pasteurella infections caused by pet bites.
My 2-Month-Old Puppy Bite Me And I’m Bleeding
Sometimes when overexcited, puppies can bite you harder even though that bite may convert into a wound and begin to bleed. While puppy bites are not harmful most times, you should not overlook a bite, especially one that bleeds.
If your young puppy bites you and your wound is bleeding, then you should follow certain immediate first aid tips at home.
- Put your wound under running warm water for some time, and rub and wash gently with soap.
- Squeeze your skin and try to draw out some blood, just to remove any debris, part of teeth, or hair left inside.
- If your wound is still leaking then use a cloth or towel and press softly to stop it.
- If it gets stopped then apply an antibacterial cream or topical ointment to prevent infections.
- Cover it with a sterile bandage for quick recovery and use a painkiller to feel relief.
In the coming days, if you observe that the wound site is becoming red, tender, and releasing pus then the infection has developed on the wound site, go to the hospital as soon as possible.
How To Get Your Puppy To Stop Biting
Your adorable pups are always ready to give tiny nips and bites because this is how they explore most things at such a young age. A puppy bite is normal and they don’t bite intentionally, trainers call this a “play bite”.
Most of the time pet owners get frustrated from these play bites as it becomes stronger, more painful, or excessive, so they want to nip this behavior in the bud. Here are some common tips that you may follow at home to stop your puppy from biting:
1. Yelping!! on Hard Biting
Puppies are quite good observers and understand your reactions and lisping, sometimes they may become hyper or frightened and may give you an intense bite. You have to shout or you have to make a loud sound “ouch”, just to make them realize that you are in pain due to their hard bite.
2. Train your puppy to Leave It
It’s really important to discourage your little pup from biting at all times. To prevent this habit you have to teach him the “ leave it” command. Whenever your young dog tries to bite you firmly, immediately you have to stop him by saying “No” or “Leave it” so this means that they have to stop their behavior whatever the conditions are. You can use treats to reward their good behavior.
3. Distract from other chewing objects
The easiest and most common way to stop your dog from mouthing is to offer them some chewing toys and give them rewards to show them that chewing toys is allowed but it is not fine on the skin.
4. Ignore and Leave the Place
Puppies are smart enough to grasp your body language and it’s really hard to control their excitement.
Whenever you notice your puppy is getting out of control and giving you bite attacks again and again, simply ignore them by leaving the area and walking away or you may have to change the scenario by taking a potty break for them.
This should not be a sign of aggression from your side instead after 10 minutes you have to carry on your interactions with a puppy.
5. Don’t Forget To Encourage Them
Doesn’t matter whether they are adult dogs or puppies, canines always love encouraging reactions and rewarding treats from you. So as an owner or trainer, you should take advantage of it and never forget to give a small piece of tasty food to them whenever they obey you or behave according to your rules.
Is Mouthing, Nipping, Or Biting A Typical Puppy Behavior?
Mouthing, nipping, and biting are three different and common behaviors of your fur baby, most pet parents just get confused and imagine these are similar terms of dog behaviors, but in actuality, these three are quite different from each other and are typical behaviors of puppies.
Not confused with biting, mouthing is when your puppy puts their mouth around something and tries to pull the object, not with any intention to tear or harm you, but their only purpose of mouthing is to divert your attention for play. Most of the sheepdogs tug the wool with their mouth to seek your attentiveness, to stop this behavior you can offer a chewing toy to them.
In contrast to mouthing, during nipping, your innocent pup may give you a sudden, intense bite that is strong enough to tear your clothes but won’t break your skin. Nipping is not considered to be an aggressive behavior and you can train your pup against it. If you want to inhibit this behavior, make a loud yelp!! upon nipping and avoiding them by walking away, they came to know that they have to control their hard bites.
If your tiny pooch remains unable to control his mouthing and nipping behaviors, then this habit may turn into biting, which is even more forceful and dangerous, that it can break your skin and turn into painful bleeding wounds, injuries, and hence lead to infections.
Such types of physical damage can lead you to costly medical treatments, surgeries, scarring, and nerve and muscle damage.
The only way to control this behavior is early training and if the pooch is not trained then you should be aware of their body gestures i.e a stiff body, hard stare, flattened ears, and sharp barks are the indications that the pooch wants to attack you.
Do Puppies Grow Out Of Biting?
Biting cannot be stopped entirely, especially during their early stages of life, puppies begin teething in 3rd week of their birth and teething completes at 5 -6 months of their age. Puppies typically grow out of biting once they reach 5 months of age.
Normally, a 2-month-old puppy does mouthing and nipping a lot, and sometimes is hard to train your dog that is too young. However, puppies from 4-6 months can be trained and gradually stop mouthing, nipping, or biting but don’t expect that, they will completely leave this instinctive habit. If your little pup bites too much, then there are chances that it will keep on biting even after 6 months.
It’s always lovely to bring new pups to your home and take care of them, but at the same time, it’s heartbreaking when they bite you. Most times a puppy bite is harmless, but doctors recommend not ignoring even a single hard bite that especially bleeds out, because even puppy bites may lead to serious injuries and fatal infections.
Injuries caused by puppies may include Puncture wounds, scarring, nerve, and muscle damage and if left untreated, leads to some life-threatening microbial infections like Rabies, Tetanus, Staph & Strep, Capnocytophaga, and Pasteurella.
Biting is natural to canines, but you can control this behavior by yelping at a hard bite, teaching them to STOP, setting boundaries, or simply ignoring them and walking away. Last but not least don’t forget to offer them yummy titbits upon showing nice behavior.