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4 Things You Should Do After a Dog Bite

Dogs make amazing companions, especially when they’ve been properly socialized and trained. Despite this, some dogs can still become aggressive, even if their dispositions are normally friendly and outgoing. Dog bite injuries are both stressful and painful, and what you do after you are bitten can affect your long-term health and any potential lawsuit that may follow.

Although you might have adrenaline still coursing through your system, there are a number of important steps that you should take immediately after being bitten. From protecting your health to protecting your interests, the right actions will help minimize the long-term impact of this ordeal.

Perform All Necessary First Aid and Seek Prompt Medical Care

Unless you’ve been merely nipped by a dog in a friendly, playful way, you should immediately treat your wounds. Serious dog bites often require emergency first responders. For instance, if you have a wound that’s bleeding profusely, missing digits, or torn limbs after an attack, you’ll want to call 911 right away. For less severe injuries:

  • Use mild soap and warm water to clean the wound
  • Apply a clean cloth or cotton compress to stop the bleeding
  • Use an antiseptic ointment or antibiotic cream to prevent infection
  • Bandage the wound securely
  • Visit your doctor as soon as possible

Even if the bite you’ve received doesn’t seem to be serious, keep in mind that a dog bite can also be life-threatening if it results in infection or the transmission of harmful, disease-causing bacteria.

Dog bites are polymicrobial. This means that there are numerous species of bacteria being introduced. Tetanus is just one of many bacterial diseases that you can be infected with as the result of a dog bite. As such, going to the hospital is always essential.

Collect Information From the Dog’s Caretaker or Owner

Do not leave the scene without first collecting information from the individual caring for the dog or the person who owns it. If your injuries are too severe to do this yourself, have a friend or a bystander do it for you. You’ll want to get the name, contact information, and address of the dog’s owner. This information will come in handy if your doctor wants to know more about the vaccination history of the dog. It can also help you when filing a claim.

Speak With Any Witnesses Who Viewed the Event Firsthand

In addition to collecting the contact information of the dog’s caretaker or owner, you’ll want to get the names and numbers of those who witnessed the event firsthand. Should a lawsuit be required, you can get accurate accounts of the bite and the actions that led up to it from these individuals. Firsthand witnesses can also provide helpful details for your insurance claim.

File a Report With Animal Control

Always file a report with local animal control after being bitten by a dog. There are two very important reasons for doing so. This report will prove incredibly helpful when filing a claim or lawsuit as it will serve as an accurate and official record of your injury. 

When dogs bite, it is vital that this behavior be put on record, especially when dogs are known to be overly aggressive, poorly managed by their owners, or frequently allowed to roam without leashes. When you file a report, you can help minimize the likelihood of an aggressive dog attacking again.

Dog bites run from the gamut from being minor inconveniences to causing severe, life-altering injuries. Aggressive, attacking dogs have been known to remove fingers and toes, cause disfiguring damages to the face, and more. By taking the right actions after being bitten, people can limit their losses, prevent future attacks, and set the stage for successful lawsuits or insurance claims.

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