It’s not something that any of us really want to think about, but the reality is that dog bites do happen, for whatever reason, and it’s useful to know what to do. Even quiet, calm, usually timid dogs can end up biting, and it may come as a shock, but by knowing what steps to take immediately after, you may save yourself some trouble in the long run.
Before we get started, we want to add that the consequences after being bitten by a dog can be complicated, so you may wish to contact a lawyer in the area where the incident happened as soon as possible afterwards. For example, if a dog in New Jersey bit you, you may want to speak to a PI lawyer from Newark to find out further information on your next steps.
Now, what to do immediately after you are bitten by a dog…
Administer first aid
If the skin has been broken and the bite is bleeding, clean it and press on the wound with clean material to slow blood flow. Apply antibacterial ointment and cover with a sterile bandage. You may need to seek medical treatment if the bleeding doesn’t stop, the pain is intense, or you struggle to function in some way.
There are a few complications that can arise from a dog bite, from nerve and muscle damage (even if the puncture wound is small) to broken bones, rabies, or scarring, so it’s not something to be taken too lightly. If you feel that you need to be checked over, or receive a tetanus booster, don’t hesitate and get some support straight away to avoid long-term damage.
Keep an eye out for infection
If the pain of a bite lasts longer than 24 hours, there is drainage from the wound, you struggle to move the affected area, and the wound feels warm, there’s a chance the bite is infected. If you notice a fever, shaking, and night sweats, it may have spread to other parts of the body. As soon as you suspect an infection, it is imperative that you seek medical assistance.
To avoid infection, be sure to clean the wound thoroughly with soap and warm water and keep it covered with a clean bandage. Change the dressing as needed, and each time, be sure to clean and apply an antibacterial ointment to the wound before recovering.
Identify the owner
As soon as possible, you need to speak to the owner of the dog to find out the dog’s medical history, and whether it has been vaccinated for rabies. Take down the details of the owner, including a contact number, full name, and which veterinarian they are registered with.
If you are able, take pictures of the wound, the dog, and even the location the attack happened, as you may need these to refer to. You should also file a dog bite report, even if the injuries were minimal, as this may help any future victims who may be hurt by the same dog.