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Are small dog bites really that dangerous?

There's no question that a large dog can do some serious damage with a bite -- even moderately-sized canines have enough force in their jaws to kill a human being. That causes a lot of people to treat medium and large dogs with a certain amount of properly due caution.

However, that caution often goes right out the window when a dog lover spots a smaller dog, like a Chihuahua or a Pekingese, because those little guys don't seem like such a threat.

That's a big mistake. You can end up seriously injured even by small dogs because there are hidden dangers in every bite.

Infections are lurking

Have you ever heard someone say that a dog's bite is cleaner than a human's? That's a myth that's been repeated for decades. The reality is that the majority of dog bites deeply penetrate the skin and end up infected. The common dog may be carrying infections like pasteurella, staphlococcus and streptococcus -- all of which can make a human very ill.

Even a small bite can push those types of bacteria deep inside the tissue of someone's hand or arm -- so seek treatment if you've been bitten and your skin is broken. Even a slight wound needs to be cleaned and irrigated in order to reduce the chances of illness.

Scars Are Another Problem

An injury from a dog bite is usually very jagged and uneven. Scars are a common result, especially in people who are prone to keloids when they heal.

Medical experts don't like to stitch up the wounds, even though that can make scars less noticeable, simply because that can trap hidden bacteria inside and increase the chances that you'll end up with an infection after all. Often, victims have to wait until a dog bite heals, then seek plastic surgery to minimize the scars.

All dogs -- regardless of size or strength -- have the potential to cause serious injuries that can cost you thousands of dollars in medical bills, so always exercise caution. It's far better to avoid a dog bite in the first place than have to seek compensation later.

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DelVecchio & Miller, LLC

DelVecchio & Miller, LLC
1300 5th Ave., Suite 2
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Phone: 412-228-4541
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