How To: Get Rid of Dog Bite Scars

How To: Get Rid of Dog Bite Scars

In the United States alone, 4.5 million people are the victims of dog bites each year. Of these, half are children. And one out of every five dog bites is serious enough to require medical attention. In spite of that seemingly large number, keep in mind that there are over 70 million pet dogs in the US, meaning that most of them never bite people. The ones that do, however, can inflict serious injury, not to mention lasting scars.

Read: Do Scars Grow With Age?

Dog bites can be tricky to deal with, and it can be even trickier to predict what kind of scar will eventually form. All dog bites are unique; they can be on different areas of the body, often involve the face, and typically have an irregular shape, jagged edges, and non-uniform depths.  This can result in a non-uniform scar, one that has uneven thicknesses and uneven colors. Dog bites can range from small puncture wounds or scratches to moderate cuts to extremely severe injuries with large areas of skin, tissue, and even bone damage.

Whether a dog bite requires medical treatment or not, the first step in minimizing scarring is preventing infection. The inflammation of infection will typically lead to delayed healing and a more visible scar once the wound finally does heal. If your doctor recommends that you take antibiotics, follow his or her instructions; this will help you avoid infection. Otherwise, be sure to keep the wound clean and covered, and consider using an antibiotic ointment as it heals.

As soon as the bite heals, begin using a scar treatment product on the area. Look for one that contains silicone, which has been proven to minimize scarring as well as help fade existing scars. Also choose a product that contains only safe and natural ingredients, such as licorice, vitamin C, and aloe vera, and does not contain dangerous chemicals like hydroquinone.

Be sure to apply the product directly to your skin. If the scar is in an area that is exposed to sunlight when you go outside, do wear a strong sunscreen, but apply it after your scar treatment has been applied and is dry. Avoid exposing your healing scar to the sun’s UV rays, as this can cause darkening or discoloration of the scar, which can be permanent. Massaging the scar, getting plenty of exercise, avoiding smoking, and eating a healthy diet rich in vitamins A and C, protein, and zinc will all help the scar heal faster and better.

Some dog bites may require scar revision. This may be an issue especially when the dog bite is on the face. Because dog bites to the face can leave wide, jagged, dark, or highly visible scars, every effort is made to minimize the scarring as much as possible. Sometimes multiple surgeries are performed. This can be an effective way to prevent a large visible scar; just remember that scar revision does leave a new scar. However, it will be much less noticeable than the original scar, and taking the steps listed above to minimize it can give you a beautiful result.

Have a question about your scar? Leave a comment and we’ll be happy to answer.

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The information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. Please speak to your doctor to treat any medical condition. Information on this site is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

Comments

  1. The information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. Please speak to your doctor to treat any medical condition. Information on this site is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.
  2. My dog just bit my 6 year old daughter in the face this morning. She didn’t need stitches but I am so worried she will be scared for life. There are 3 areas around her top lip. What should I do for

  3. Michelle Z says

    Im wondering how to prevent scarring. Dog bite on breast above nipple. Still healing. Just been using soap water and bactrim ointment.

    • Hi Michelle, soap and water and bacitracin ointment are great for the intial wound healing and keeping it clean and free from infection. How your wound heals makes a big difference in the size and appearance of the final scar. However, all injuries cause scarring, so you may need to use a scar treatment once your wound has healed. We recommend InviCible Scars (http://www.inviciblescars.com). Nutrition and exercise also play a crucial role in how your scar heals as well. Feel free to search our blog, as we have several articles about it. Lastly, wear sunscreen over your scar if this part of your skin is exposed to sunlight. UV rays can cause permanent redness to your scar. Hope this helps!

  4. Hi! Dog bite me in the nose before 8 months, and on the left side on the nose it was like acut, while on the upper part and down, it was more lightly. I applied Contractubex for 7 months, and it has faded almost completely, it’s only reddish on the left side where the wound bleeded. But I still see that V shaped cut (white line), especially when there is more light, or when I’m under the sun, and it bothers me a lot, because it reminds me always about that accident that I want to forget. Is there anything that can be done to reduce that V shaped line? I don’t get it, before 10 years, dog bite my face, and my eyelid was opened completely, and after the scab fell off, the cut was red, and then I applied a lot of Aloe, and it faded from white to color of my skin, so now I cannot tell the difference between my other eyelid, and that one. Also,beside my eye there’s a mark from one teeth also, but it’s not white, it is skin color. Will this white line on the nose fade to skin color too, or it will be like that always? Don’t know what to do, or should I use Aloe again? Should I wait a little more, or should I consult plastic surgeon? The bite was not that bad, and the scar isn’t so noticeable, and didn’t needed stitches, so I’m just curious… and why some deeper cuts heals fine, with no white mark, and some lighter cuts leave white mark? That bite before 10 years was more dangerous, and still, didn’t leave white mark, so I am confused, especially as I read somewhere that they can be temporary? Is it true?

    • Hi Ozzy, Not all injuries heal the same way. There are many factors involved like the type of injury, the location of the scar, blood supply to the area, age of the patient at the time of injury, sun exposure, how the wound was treated, whether it became infection, etc.

      Scars that are white aren’t going to “fade” much. They don’t regain pigment. They tend to stay white. No topical treatment will help. We suggest a consult with a plastic surgeon for a formal evaluation.

  5. hello, i’m Brooke. my cocker spaniel bit me two and a half weeks ago. He’s 9 years old and was in a deep sleep when it happened. he bit my face and left an few deep wounds around my mouth. I was on antibiotics and cream and then started to use bio oil. However, my face started to become inflamed and abit pussy. the doctor gave me some antibiotic cream as my injury was infected. Iv’e been using the cream for about 5 days now but it still seems very red. Any advice? thanks

  6. I was bitten severely by a dog 4 years ago and the scar never faded. Any creams i could use to fade it?

  7. My daughter of 9 years old got bitten on her face by a dog 1 days ago. she got 5 stitches on nose n 4 stitches on her cheek. please suggest me what can be done or any cream to reduce the mark on her face

  8. I was bit on the face by a dog 12 years ago is there any cream I could get to get rid of the scar?

    • Hi Haley, since the scare is on your face, which gets the most amount of UV light, it is possible that your scar is permanently darkened if you did not use sunscreen with SPF 30+ daily for the last 12 years. So in terms of fading the discoloration, it is unlikely any scar treatment can help. If the scar is raised or firm, a silicone scar treatment, when firmly massaged into the skin, may help to break up some of the fibrous bands under the skin to soften the tissue and flatten the scar.

  9. I was bitten by a dog when I was 10 years old. It left 2 minor scars on my face that were never properly treated/stitched after the attack. One scar is a bit of loose skin under my left eye and another looks like a wrinkle line on the left corner of my mouth that runs straight up towards my left nostril. There is no discolouration or anything. It looks the same as it was 10 years ago. As a result of the attack I have lost all confidence in myself and haven’t been able to feel beautiful for a very long time. And to make matters worse, I’m a twin so I am constantly labelled as “the ugly twin” due to my scars. So, I have a couple questions…
    1. Is it too late for these scars to be removed/treated?
    2. CAN THEY be removed/treated?

  10. I got bit by a dog 7 weeks ago on the arm. There were 3 puncture wounds and all have scar tissue that is so different from each other. I have been using vitamin e oil every few hours. Each scar has a pink ring around it, will this eventually go away? Should I be using a different type of treatment?

  11. Hello I just got bitten by my dog in my upper lip I went to a plastic surgon and got 1 stitch and my lip is swollen. I was medicated some antibiotics but I don’t know if my lip will disfigurate. Should I use alo aloe vera ? What should I do with the scar ?

    • Hi Lesly, you should apply Neosporin to the affected area until the surgeon takes the stitch out. Then we’d recommend InviCible Scars, which contains aloe vera and EFA’s to hydrate, but also Vitamin C and licorice root extract to fade the scar.

  12. Hello,

    My dog is a Maltese, and he bit the inside of my thigh like three months ago. The scar is 5″ down from my bikini. The more visible scar is about half an inch long and thick as a hair pin. The scar has a dark surrounding and it’s pinkish or brownish on the inside. There is another scar separated by a very small distance but its only brownish and only looks like a birth mark and it has been fading so it doesn’t worries me as much. But the first scar bothers me a lot. I am light skin so the scar is visible and annoying to see because it is dark. I am conscious about it when i try to wear shorts. Also, when i press on the scar, I feel as if it were not fully heal. like it feels as if it were a bruise. Will this scar ever go away or fade significantly if I use invisible scar treatment or what should I do?

    • Hi Marcela, the reason the scar doesn’t feel as if it has healed is because it hasn’t. Scars take 1-2 years to fully heal. What you see on the outside isn’t indicative of what is happening on the inside. The good news is that you are able to treat this scar early. Since these scars are on your leg, be sure to apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30+ regularly, as UV rays can permanently darken them. Be sure to massage your scars regularly; this will help to break up the fibrous tissue that is forming beneath it. Using a scar treatment like InviCible Scars will help to fade the darkness of the scar so that it becomes more flesh colored.

  13. My name is Kai. I got attacked by a pit bull about a year ago. I had 63 stitches. 14 in my ear, 20 in my left arm, I think around six or seven in my right arm, and and around 33 in my left leg. I had to go to the emergency room and I have bad scars. I don’t like the scars and I want them to go away. I don’t know how though. Is there a way I can make them go away?

  14. I was bitten by dog in lower lip 2 yrs ago, no stitches needed. It is black. Anything I can do?

    • Hi Karin, did it recently turn black? Most scars will darken (brown) when exposed to the sun without sunscreen, or in your case, a lip balm with SPF.

      • hi my name is Brianna and i got bit by my Bishon about 2 weeks ago on my lower lip. his teeth punctured it just once & its healed by now but there is just a remaining Brown spot. even if i continue to use sunscreen on it, will it ever go away?

      • is there ANYTHING i can do before this turns permanent? P L E A S E help, thank you !

        • Hi Brianna, sunscreen will help protect it from getting darker from the sun’s UV rays, but sunscreen does not have ingredients to fade it. If you haven’t tried InviCible Scars, this helps to fade dark marks due to its ingredients of Vitamin C and Licorice Root Extract.

  15. I have a scar on my nose from a pimple.I just pulled off my pimple with my nails which in turn became an ugly scar on my nose. can you give me some home remedies to get rid off my scars quickly???????

  16. Hey my son just got bit today by my dog in the cheek but it doesn’t look like a bite it looks more like a scratch but my wife put ice in it so it won’t swollen and she put cicaticure and Vapo rub on it so it doesn’t look red a lot and he didn’t need any stitches can you please help me so it won’t get infected and damaged 😳

    • Hi Mike, vapo rub is basically petroleum, which won’t do anything except moisturize the area. Just make sure that you are applying sunscreen to his face regularly, as the sun can darken scars. If he did end up with a dark scar, as long as he is age 2+, InviCible Scars is safe to apply.

  17. jhaylyn arboso says

    my shihtzu bite me this past 3 days but it leaves scars and a little contusion , you can feel the contusion when you toich it and the bite gradually gone .

  18. I got but by a huge mastiff just underneath my left eye and had 3 stitches 6 days ago, it was bad and I get stitiches out in 2 days, I want to go to a facial plastic surgeon for reconstructive surgery, What type of surgery would I be a candidate for? I bruise & swell to extremes esp on the face. I was at a friends house when her dog took a bite at me. What do I need to do to first to get insurance to pay? Would it be my friends homeowners insurance? What legal steps do I need to take? Stitches will be removed in 1 day. Cant work now or when I get plastic surgery. It has been very traumatic and I dog sit and feel differently around all dogs.

    • Hi Zori, we’re sorry to hear this happened to you. The questions you ask, though, should be asked to your dr. He/she would best be able to access what you need, where to refer you that your insurance (or theirs) would pay, etc.

  19. hey myself sukriti i was around 5 years when dog bite me on my face and now it have looking very weird and it has deep i think cn u suggest what to do

  20. hello
    my dog bit me on the nose. i have 3 puncture wounds and 4 lacerations. how long will they take to heal? for the puncture wounds will the scar be as deep as the puncture?
    thanks!

  21. Hi,
    I was bit and scratched by a cat on both of my hands. It has been about two months now and the wounds have healed. However, I still see the dots where the teeth punctured my skin. Is that going to stay there permanently? I also read in your article that you should not expose your wounds to the sun because they can turn dark and it can be permanent. I did not know this until today.

  22. Anonymous says

    I feel embarrassed to go out right now…I am a 15 years old girl and my dog bite me just below my eyes..it is not serious at all but it is swollen..it swell up a little not too big and not too small.I am having school tomorrow and my friends are going to ask so many questions..now I need to know how to reduce it.

  23. Hi
    My 6 year old girl cry everday, her mother cry too!19-06-2017a pitbull attack my little on her face while she was playing with friends. Please advice and help us, the scars,tear not looking good at all

  24. Hi there
    Doctors didn’t give us full information after the surgeon, he said she had more than 100 stitches.

  25. My dog bit my hand last Sunday. I went to the doctor and he prescribed antibiotics. Now I’m over with the medication and the bite has formed a scab. The are dark marks around the scabs and they are very visible. It is not the first time my dog bit me and every time, it forms a quite visible scar. What should I do for the dark marks around my hand?

    • Hi Akansha, first – make sure you don’t pick at the scab. Just allow it to fall off on its own. For the dark marks, apply a scar treatment with a stable form of Vitamin C and also apply sunscreen SPF 50 daily to protect it from UV rays (which will darken it.)

  26. Nicola Holmes says

    I was bitten by a dog on my lower lip. It took a three quarter of flesh out. I went to the ER and a plastic surgeon stitched it. 2 weeks later and all the stitches have been removed. The first day it looked really good. 2 days later it is swollen and dark red. Is this normal? I have been masssaging it gently as per his instructions. Please help!

  27. A dog bit me on my left cheek ! This was like 18 year ago ! Am 23 years old now so I really need a recommendation of something to take off the scar! it not that big but I wold really like it be removed .. I tried some lotions but am not seeing any results! What should I use or do?

    • Hi Valerie, unfortunately there is no way to remove the scar, only fade any discoloration so that it is less noticeable. If you are not seeing any results from scar creams, we’d recommend speaking to a surgeon about facial scar revision.

  28. i was beaten by a dog 12 years ago on my leg..i have never thought of trying fading them out until now i started seeing them looking dark blackish and its really embarassing, especially when get to wear a short im the house.i just dont get to wear anything short when go out.always jeans.is there any good cream that you would reccomend to use to help with the discolouring of the skin please.appreciate your thought

  29. Dorothy Azyz says

    I got dog bite last year on the back of my leg now the scar is dark and about the size of a nickle.what can I use to lighten the color of this scar.

  30. i got bit in the face by my dog around my eye and it’s swollen , i’m scared that it’s gonna scar and my face won’t get back to normal and it’ll stay like this , i’ve been putting antibiotic cream on the are for about 3 days now , what should i do please help

  31. Hi all, I got bit by my dog about 4 months ago. The scar is healing but very slowly. It’s still a dark red and a bump on my leg if you feel it. It’s healed over but not fully. I also have scratches from the same incident and they turned into scars even though it barely punctured the skin. I was just wondering how long my scar will take to heal? I had to get 3 stitches in it. Also, if anyone knows, why do dog bites/ scratches turn into scars so often? A couple days ago I got scratched by my other dog just jumping up on me and it never punctured the skin…but now is another scar. My dogs are young and I don’t want to have scars every time they scratch me.

    • Hi Sophia, unfortunately, any injury to the skin will create a scar. However, depending on your overall health and how you take care of the initial injury, all play a factor in how it will heal. This blog has lots of great articles on scar healing time, how to treat scars, what affects how scars heal, etc. The search box at the top should help.

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