Dangers of Dog Bites: Information You Need from a Dog Bite Lawyer
Written by Cooper & Friedman PLLC on April 6, 2018
If a dog has teeth, it can bite. Unfortunately sometimes this happens to you or someone you know without warning. More than 4.5 million people in the U.S. are bitten by dog each year. The steps you take after a dog bite really depend on the severity of it and the specifics of the situation. While dog bites can cause serious injury and infection, not all bites are dangerous.
Say you are playing with a friend’s new puppy and he gives you a little nip. This is just what puppies do when they are teething. They see your arm or hand as something soft to put in their mouth, and their tiny puppy brains say “chomp it!” This has nothing to do with animosity and typically their underdeveloped teeth aren’t even sharp enough to break the skin. Any time a dog bit barely scratches the skin (be it puppy-related or not) all you have to do is clean the area with running water, apply a disinfectant like isopropyl alcohol or hydrogen peroxide, then cover it with a topical antibiotic and a bandage. Simple enough!
However, if you are bit by another person’s dog and their teeth puncture your skin, things are not as simple.
Treating a Puncture Wound Due to Dog Bite
- If your skin is bleeding, allow it to flow for a bit in order to clean the wound of any bacteria. Dog’s can introduce harmful bacteria including staphylococcus, streptococcus and pasteurella, and capnocytophaga through a bite.
- Wash the wound with water, mild soap, and a clean washcloth.
- Apply a topical antibiotic over the wound and wrap it with a sterile bandage. Change the bandage throughout the day.
- Make an appointment with your doctor to look at the wound. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics or give you a tetanus shot if needed.
- Monitor the wound for signs of infection including swelling, increased pain, pus, and fever.
What to Do if A Strange Dog Bites You
If a stranger’s dog bites you, it’s imperative that you get their name and contact number. This is so you can get proof of rabies vaccination from them. You may also want to get their veterinarian’s office number so you can follow up and make sure the dog’s rabies vaccination is up to date.
If it is an unknown dog with no owner in sight, leave the dog alone and call local Animal Control to capture it. Call 911 to begin rabies vaccinations as soon as possible. In unvaccinated humans, rabies is almost always fatal after neurological symptoms develop.
After treating the wound as described above, you want to make a doctor’s appointment to double check the bite. Your doctor will ask for rabies vaccination information so they can notify animal control and the police of the incident. From there, officials will ensure that the dog’s owner takes steps to prevent their dog from biting someone again. Those measures are based on your local laws and ordinances.
Retain all the information you receive regarding the incident including a note from your physician and any case numbers provided by animal control or the police. If you end up hiring a dog bite lawyer to help you recuperate the costs of treating the bite, these documents will be helpful.
At Cooper & Friedman Law Office, we have years of experience working with dog bite cases and we will work with you to make the process as stress-free as possible. If you or someone you love needs a dog bite lawyer in Kentucky or Southern Indiana contact us today for a free consultation. You can reach the Cooper & Friedman Law Office by calling 502-459-7555 or contacting us on our website by clicking here.