It goes without saying that dogs can enrich your life. They can provide you with companionship, or help you get back into exercising again. As a result, it’s hardly surprising that most people will stop to pet dogs they see in the street or when they’re out and about.
And, while dogs tend to be friendlier than most humans, they’re also unpredictable. In some cases, this could lead to accident and injury should a dog choose to lash out and bite you. While this may seem improbable for those who have spent their lives surrounded by docile family pets, approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur in the US each year, per a study from the CDC. While they range in severity, going through this kind of situation can be incredibly stressful and frightening.
With that in mind, here’s exactly what to do if you get bit by a dog.
Remove yourself from the situation. If a dog is acting aggressively, it’s important that you put as much distance between yourself and the animal as possible. If out in public, the owner should restrain the lead and encourage the dog’s attention elsewhere. If you’re in an indoor space, head to another room. This will give you the space you need to calm down and assess your injuries.
Check the bite. Dog bites can range in severity, but it’s important that you don’t try to brush off the injury (i.e. put a plaster on it and try to move on). First, you should wash the wound. This reduces the chances of infection occurring and can also serve to slow down any bleeding. You should then wrap the wound in a sterile bandage and seek medical attention. Even if the bite is superficial and relatively pain-free, you may need to get certain vaccinations after the fact. If the bite is deep, you may need stitches or other forms of treatment. In most cases, medical staff will also be able to provide you with pain-relief.
Speak to the dog’s owner. If you’ve been bitten by a dog out in public, you must speak to the owner about the dog. For example, you need to know if they’ve had certain vacations so you can pass this information on to your doctor, as this could change their course of treatment for you. You should also swap contact details so that you are able to communicate again in the future.
Consider reaching out to a lawyer. In the same way in which Dogs are unpredictable, so too can be the after-effects of an altercation with a dog. This is because the side effects can be far-ranging. For example, you may deal with long-term scarring or physical injuries or emotional turmoil – all of which are grounds for reaching out to an injury lawyer and making a case. There are different regulations in every state for this kind of incident, but your lawyer will be able to talk you through the process and ensure you put your best foot forward.