If A Dog Bites You, Follow These Important Steps

To many, dogs are considered to be a “man’s best friend.” Although more often than not this may be the case, some dogs do pose a potential threat to our safety. Regardless of how domesticated they are, dogs are still animals — according to the most recent statistics, dogs bite over 4.7 million Americans every year. Not surprisingly, around half of these dogs bites involve children between the ages of 5 and 9, who likely provoked the dog or acted in some other reckless way. Regardless of who is at fault, a dog bite can be dangerous and may require medical attention.

A Dog Bit Me

If a dog has bitten you or a loved one, it is important to quickly take action. Sitting around and neglecting any medical treatment can lead to infection or other medical complications. Follow the below steps to properly take car of a dog bite.

At Home

If you have been bitten by a dog and you do not feel it is serious enough to warrant a trip to the doctor, or have not yet had time to make the trip, follow these steps:

  • Use a towel to stop the bleeding
  • Keep the injury elevated
  • Wash the bite with soap and water
  • Apply a bandage
  • Apply antibiotic ointment daily

At The Doctor

If you feel that your dog bite is very serious, and feel the need to visit a doctor, you should be prepared to answer the following questions:

  • Do you know the dog’s owner?
  • Is the dog vaccinated?
  • When was the dog’s rabies vaccination?
  • Was the bite provoked or unprovoked?
  • What pre-existing health conditions do you have?

If you do end up visiting the doctor, he or she will examine the bite to see if it was deep enough to damage any muscles, tendons, nerves, or bones. Then, they will clean the bite wound to remove any bacteria or dirt. Sometimes, dead tissues is removed from the wound at this stage as well. Depending on the severity of the of the wound, it may need to be artificially closed. One method of doing so is with sutures, which can reduce scarring but also increase the risk of infection. In some extreme cases, a dog bite wound may require extensive plastic surgery to correct the problem.

After The Bite

After you treat your dog bite, either at home or at the doctor, you should make sure to take a few more precautionary measures. Receive the rabies vaccine if the dog’s health status is unknown, and make sure you have recently received a tetanus shot. You may need to take antibiotics for one to two weeks as well. If you would like to press charges against the dog’s owner, contact a personal injury lawyer who specializes in these kinds of cases.