Dog bites can happen anytime and anywhere. Thousands of causes of unprovoked dog bites happen in the United States each and every year. These bites often result in the need for extensive medical care, and sometimes even death – especially if a small child is involved.
A bite may be as simple as a teething puppy nipping at you, or you could be the victim of a vicious dog attack while minding your own business.
Depending upon the situation, you may wish to consult with a personal injury attorney to consider your legal rights. But first, no matter what the circumstance, safety has to be your top priority.
Remove yourself from the situation such that another bite will not occur, and then treat your injuries accordingly.
Here’s what to do if a dog bites you:
In most cases, a dog bite results in a minor surface-level injury, such as a scape or a gash.
These are known as superficial wounds.
Clean the affected area with cold water, and then apply rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to disinfect your wound. A topical antibiotic and a dressing would also be a good idea.
Breaking the Skin
If a dog bite has resulted in a puncture or breaking of the skin, do not panic. You will likely see blood, and that is okay – the blood actually helps to clean your wound.
Simply apply pressure to your wound for 5-7 minutes. If this stops the bleeding, refer to the directions for surface-level injuries above.
If the affected area continues bleeding or bleeds profusely, or you have lost a significant amount of blood, call 911 right away.
Strange Dog Attacks
Rabies and other diseases are always a possibility when you encounter a strange dog, such as a stray.
For this reason, it is recommended that you do not approach a dog you are not familiar with. Instead, contact the authorities to handle the situation safely.
If you are bit by a strange dog, seek medical attention immediately.
Puppies Are Known to Bite
All puppies are known to bite when they are teething, as referenced above.
This is not because you did anything to provoke the puppy, nor because he or she meant any harm. It is simply his or her natural reaction to bite or chew soft objects.
That being said, a puppy bite can still result in lesions or punctures, and you would be wise to thoroughly clean and disinfect any resulting wounds. In most cases, the instructions under surface-level injuries will suffice.
If this is your puppy that bit you, the most important thing is to remain calm. The last thing you want to do is attach significance to the action that your puppy will later remember.
Teaching your puppy not to bite is just a part of training, and it must be done in a calm and patient manner.
If Your Adult Dog Bites You
Please understand that your local “Attorney Big Al” has a team of personal injury attorneys, but we are not professional dog trainers.
There are, however, plenty of dog bites in Florida. As a result, here is some research on what to do if an adult dog bites you – including if it was your own dog.
First, you must consider the intent behind the bite:
- Was it an accidental bite?
- Was it an intentional bite?
An accidental bite could occur while you are playing with your dog. There is nothing to be alarmed about because you know that he or she is not likely to do it again.
If, on the other hand, your dog seems to intentionally bite you without provocation, there may be a medical issue to investigate. Your dog may be in pain or have some type of injury you cannot see, so it is best to take him or her to see a veterinarian.
Your vet may also be able to help you determine if there was an environmental factor at play, such as food aggression or some sort of territorial dominance. If this is the case, professional training may be required. Not only is your dog a potential threat to you, but to others around you, as well.
If Someone Else’s Adult Dog Bites You
What you need to if you are bitten by someone else’s dog is not all that different from what you would do in the event of a car accident.
You will want to exchange contact details, and to acquire proof that the dog that bit you were vaccinated for rabies.
Please note that if your wounds require immediate medical attention, that takes priority over exchanging contact information.
Hire a Personal Injury Attorney
It is important to note that it is likely your local “Attorney Big Al” has handled many cases involving dog bites, and you may be entitled to compensation.
A dog bite can result in expensive medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and worse. In fact, Florida law states that dog bites are a strict liability, meaning that the owner of the dog that attacked you is responsible for your injuries even if he or she tried to prevent it from happening.