Dog Bites Hurt! 7 Things You Need To Do If You Are Bitten By A Dog
Written by Cooper & Friedman PLLC on August 24, 2015
A man’s best friend may be his dog, but sometimes these friends can bite back. Dog bites account for 4.5 million injuries in America each year. About half of these bites affect children five to nine years of age. From that number, about one out of five or 20 percent of these bites cause a minor to major medical emergency each year. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that about 880,000 U.S. dog bite victims are treated by emergency hospital care each year.
Dogs have been domesticated for thousands of years, but that has not removed the animal from the pet. Although Dogs have rounded teeth, it is the force of their jaw that is able to cause major damage to a person’s tissue, bones and other physical features. According to the CDC, around 30,000 dog bite victims have plastic or reconstructive surgery each year to improve their wounds. Of the 4.5 million dog bite victims in the U.S., 15 to 20 people die yearly from their injuries.
Children represent a disproportionately larger concentration of dog bite victims. And men are more likely than women to be victims of dog bites. (Women, in contrast, are more likely to be bitten by a cat, rather than a dog).
As you can infer, dog bites can be very serious and sometimes deadly. It’s important to understand what you should do if you are every the victim of a dog bite. This information could potentially save a life.
7 Things You Should Do After Being Bitten By A Dog
- Find a Safe Place: Whether it be by accident or on purpose, after being bitten by a dog, it is best to remove yourself from the dog’s presence as quickly as possible. This will eliminate future bites or attacks. Move from the place of the attack and seek protection from the animal.
- Obtain Information: Learning more about the dog’s history will also improve your recovery time. If possible, find out information about the animal’s vaccinations, incidence of rabies or other diseases. At this time it is important to speak with the owner or call the local Animal Control center. If the dog has been vaccinated, you have a better road to recovery. But if the dog’s history is unknown, it is best to seek medical treatment immediately.
- Tend to the Wounds: Stop the bleeding by applying pressure and attending to any wounds sustained during the attack. Try washing out the wound and elevating the affected area. It is easier to see the damage on the skin, but more importantly, consider the deeper damage like injuries sustained to the muscles, nerve and bone. It is better to handle wounds immediately to prevent infection.
- Seek Medical Attention: If the wound is not healing or shows signs of drainage or pus, it is advisable to seek medical attention. This should be in a timely manner, so consider traveling to the hospital, rather than waiting for a doctor’s appointment.
- Get Treatment: A physician is better able to evaluate the damage done. For dog bites, if the bite has drawn blood, the victim should be up-to-date on his or her tetanus shot and will likely be treated with antibiotics for 2 weeks to prevent any infections.
- Practice Prevention Methods: Dog bites can range from minor abrasions to major wounds. In order to prevent future bites, it is best to learn how to approach these animals. When engaging with dogs, it is best to approach slowly and give them the chance to make the first move. Always stay away from unknown dogs and ask permission from their owner before approaching. Never leave a dog alone with a child or infant. It is recommended to avoid disturbing a dog that is feeding or eating as well.
- Consider Legal Help: If you are the victim of a dog attack, you may qualify for some important legal protections. Certain attorneys (often those familiar with personal injury law) may understand legal protections pertaining to dog bites. If you contact a dog bite attorney you may be able to get compensation for your medical bills, missed time from work, and other expenses pertaining to your dog bite injury.
Although dogs have been domesticated for thousands of years, their actions and motives can be completely unplanned and unexpected. It is always best to let these animals make the first move. In the event of dog bite, always address the injuries in a safe environment and seek medical treatment if injuries are a concern.
Remember to use discretion when interacting with dogs of any size and breed, and teach your children to do the same. If you are the victim of a dog bite, it is advisable to get help from a personal injury law firm like Cooper & Friedman that understands the legal ramifications of dog bite injuries.
The above is posted for informational purposes only. The publisher is not a doctor or physician. If you believe you have any medical problem, you should always consult with a qualified doctor and not rely on informational posts of this nature.