What to Do After a Dog Bite

6 mins read

Dogs are man’s best friend, but we have to remember that they’re still animals. Some people have a tougher time controlling their canines than others, and this leads to problems for other people. Getting bit by a puppy who’s still teething and in its nipping faze shouldn’t be a big deal, but it’s different if a full-grown dog bites a person trying to say hello, or gets free of its leash and attacks someone it’s interested in.

However, there are several ways to heal, depending on how bad the bite is. Here is a guide to recovering from a bite.

Apply First Aid

You need to address any injuries the dog bite caused so you can recover as quickly as possible. Letting the wound bleed a little will actually help get it clean, but you should call 911 right away if blood is flowing heavily or if you lost a lot of blood, and especially if the dog bit you in the neck or head. Apply direct pressure to the wound to stop the blood flow, and then rinse the wound under soap and water for five minutes.

If you bandage the wound, you should thoroughly clean it beforehand. Despite being helpful with certain injuries, rubbing alcohol, iodine, and hydrogen peroxide make healing from a puncture wound slower. However, they do come in handy for small scrapes or gashes.

If you get bit by a dog you haven’t seen before, whether it’s stray or got away from its owner, do not try to catch the dog. Leave that job to animal control, and call 911 afterwards so that medical professionals can examine you. Calling 911 also helps the dog’s owner, as animal control and the police can help him or her take measures to prevent the dog from biting anyone else in the future.

Collect Contact Information

If you’re bitten by someone else’s dog, you need to collect their contact information in case the injury gets serious, mainly their email address and phone number. More importantly, you’ll need the number of the dog’s veterinarian, as your wound could get worse down the line, with the worst-case scenario being a rabies infection.

Cleaning the wound yourself prevents bacteria from getting inside and causing an infection, but the aid of a doctor can help prevent further problems. If the dog was especially aggressive, partially paralyzed, or otherwise acting strangely, it could have rabies or another infection. With the proper contact info, you can contact the dog’s veterinarian to determine if the vaccinations are up to date.

Contact Your Lawyer

While you’re physically healing from a dog bite, it’s also important that you stay in good shape financially. There’s no guarantee that your insurance company covers dog bites. If the dog’s owned by a friend or family member, it’s hard to consider taking legal action, but the injury could be severe enough to warrant such a move.

Part of this process includes explaining the situation to your attorney. There’s always local specialists nearby, so if you’re in California for example, find a professional dog bite lawyer in Los Angeles so you know how you’re covered and what you’re entitled to. Your attorney can determine how you might be compensated based on the incident, and having photo evidence of the situation will make their job even easier. He or she will also be aware of laws regarding dog attacks in different areas, which could come in handy if the incident took place out of town.

Establish Boundaries

Talk to your veterinarian if your dog bites you out of nowhere, as it may be connected to an injury the dog is suffering from which you aren’t aware of. It may also happen because you invaded the dog’s space by sitting too close, or taking away food or a toy. Whether or not the bite was intentional, it’s important to discipline your dog right away. Waiting to do so won’t work because the dog won’t be able to connect the current discipline with what he or she did days or a week ago.

In this case, set rules and limitations on what the dog can do going forward, and talking to a trainer comes in handy if owning a dog is a relatively new experience for you.

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