Important Steps To Take After Being Bitten by a Dog

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( — May 1, 2021) — Dog bites are no small thing. Whether the dog was playing and just got overexcited, or whether they were actively aggressive, dog bites vary in seriousness, and if it’s a bad bite, there could be many complications. After a dog bite, you may be in shock, and not thinking clearly. We’ve put together this helpful list of important steps you need to take if you’ve been bitten by a dog. Keep in mind that dog bites can occur at any time – a dog may attack you while you’re out walking, and even your own dog may bite you if they get a fright. No matter how sweet a dog’s disposition is, there’s always a risk, so be prepared.

The legal side of things

Of course, if your own dog bit you, there’s no need to stress about this aspect. But if you’re bitten by someone else’s dog, you may be able to file for a personal injury case. This means that, if the case is successful, you may be able to get financial compensation. It’s a good idea to get a lawyer who specializes in this type of case, such as this injury lawyer, Chicago. Naturally, the case won’t be made against the dog, but its owner. That being said, there could still be serious repercussions for the dog, so you need to think long and hard about which steps you are willing to take.

Get the owner’s details

This may not always be possible – like if it’s your own dog or a wild dog – but if the owner of the dog is around when the bite occurs, it’s a good idea to get their details. Even if the bite doesn’t seem serious, there may be complications that pop up later, and it’s always easier to already have the owner’s contact details. This will be especially helpful if you need the dog’s medical records or a list of what vaccinations they’ve had.

Go for tests

You may not need medical attention in the form of stitches, but you still need to seek out a doctor or go to the hospital. Many people think that, if the skin isn’t broken or bleeding, that means that they couldn’t have picked up a disease from the dog bite. The truth is that we can’t always see whether there are small tears in the skin, and it’s always better to be safe than sorry, especially since pets carry so many infections.

Take your dog to the vet

If the dog that bit you belongs to you, and biting is out of character for them, you may want to take them to the vet once you’ve sorted yourself out. Your dog may be ill or in pain, and that’s the reason for them lashing out. Remember that dogs can’t talk to us, so biting may be your dog’s way of telling you that something is seriously wrong. Again, this might not always be the case – your dog may just have gotten a fright – but we’re sure you don’t want to take that risk.

Try to calm down

No matter how severe the bite may be, you’re probably in shock. This can be worsened by other side effects, like pain or bleeding. You need to do your best to calm yourself down, especially if the dog who bit you is still nearby. Dogs can smell fear, and you don’t want it to attack you again. Allowing yourself to calm down will also help you assess the situation more clearly and help you decide on which steps to take next. Click here for more information on shock.

Keep your distance

For some people, getting away from the dog may be their instinct. Others, however, may want to reach out to the dog to calm them down, especially if it’s their dog. This is not a good idea. You need to get as far away from the dog as possible, even if they seemed to have calmed down. You don’t know what will trigger them, and you don’t want them to start biting again. Slowly, and without sudden movements, try to move away from the dog. Avoid eye contact with the dog, in case they view it as a challenge.

Clean and sterilize the wound

Before you seek proper medical attention, you should get the wound cleaned and sterilized as soon as possible. Start by running some clean water over the wound. Don’t be scared if it bleeds a lot. After the bleeding has slowed down and any debris has been washed out of the wound, apply an antiseptic cream or some sort. If you’re worried that it will start bleeding again, you can wrap it in a bandage – preferably something breathable. If the wound is serious, your doctor may prescribe things to try and heal it and prevent scarring.

Seek medical attention

Of course, one of the first things you need to do after an injury is to seek medical attention. Even if the damage doesn’t seem too severe, and you don’t think it’s worth the trip, you need a medical professional to take a look. They will tell you whether you need stitches or any other type of procedure. Even if the wound isn’t very deep, they will at the very least be able to help you prevent infection. Having a wound get infected is not a good experience, and the chances of it happening are much higher if you don’t have professional help.

Write a report

Once you’ve calmed down – but not too long after the incident – sit down and write down what exactly happened. This may sound bizarre, but it can help if things should ever go to court. It’s also a good idea to have your events written down, in case the dog owner has a different story. It can also help if you need to take a day or two off of work in the case of a very serious injury. And, finally, it can be therapeutic to work through this traumatic event.