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5 critical steps to take after a dog bite

Posted by Bulldog Law | May 30, 2024 | 0 Comments

Dogs, whether they are pets or wandering strays, can bite. When such incidents occur, the risk of infection, rabies, permanent damage or health complications is an alarming possibility.

If you or someone close to you has suffered a dog bite, the steps you take next are pivotal for safeguarding your health and pursuing legal options.

Assess and clean the wound

Firstly, move to a secure location far away from the dog. If the bite broke the skin, cleaning the wound may reduce the risk of infection.

  • Wash your hands with soap and water or use latex gloves.
  • Clean the wound with mild soap and warm water, lathering gently for 10 to 15 minutes. If the wound is visibly dirty, you may want to wash it for a little longer.
  • For bleeding wounds, apply pressure to the area using a clean, dry cloth until it stops.
  • Apply an anti-bacterial ointment if you have any.
  • Cover the wound with a sterile bandage.

Pay extra attention to large or deep wounds, persistent bleeding, bites from stray dogs or if your immune system is compromised. Calling 911 may be necessary to get proper help.

Gather information about the dog

Is the dog a stray or a pet? If someone owns the dog, check if its vaccines are up to date, particularly for rabies.

Note the dog owner's contact information, the date, time and place of the bite, the force of the bite and the dog's breed or identifying features. Along with your medical history, this information is vital for accurately evaluating and treating your injuries.

Call for help

Some dogs may be rabies carriers. Call animal control or your local police if:

  • You observe odd behavior in the dog
  • The dog seems to be a lost pet
  • The dog is a pet lacking updated rabies vaccination
  • The dog is a stray

Reporting may prevent further accidents and serve as an official record for legal purposes.

Possible complications after a dog bite

In extreme cases, dog bites can cause rabies, disfigurement, or sepsis, all of which might need extensive and ongoing medical care. Dog bites may also severely disrupt your daily life, including your ability to work.

In California, pet owners are responsible for the actions of their dogs. You may be entitled to compensation for your dog bite injuries. An attorney can guide you through the process and manage the legal details while you recover.

Remember, acting quickly following a dog bite can be vital for a speedy recovery and pursuing compensation.

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