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What Should I Do If A Dog Bit Me?

Dog bites are a serious matter.

Sometimes a dog might give a harmless nip, while other dog bites result in serious injuries.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 4.5 million dog bites occur per year in the United States.

Out of that number, roughly 800, 000 of those bites require medical care.

Therefore, it's imperative to take the proper steps after a dog bite.

If you’re thinking to yourself, ” A dog bit me! Now, what do I do”?

What Should I Do If A Dog Bit Me?

Take a look at the information below to learn how to handle the situation:

Identify the Dog and His Owner

After a dog bite, identify the dog's owner immediately.

Doing so allows you to find the responsible party. Get names, addresses, and rabies vaccination proof.

Without it, you may have to receive a series of rabies shots.

You'll also need to keep in contact with the owner. In some states, dog owners are held liable for any injuries caused by their dog.

Treat Your Wound

After you experience a dog bite, it's best to treat the wound as soon as possible.

Here are the steps to take:

  • Wash the wound with mild soap and rinse it with warm water for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Slow down the bleeding by applying a clean cloth over the wound
  • Apply over-the-counter ointment to the infected area
  • Wrap the injury thoroughly with a bandage
  • Keep the bandage on the wound until you get to the doctor.

Doing these steps will help to minimize the risk of infection.

Get Medical Attention

Your personal dog bite treatment isn't enough.

You must visit a medical professional to properly take care of your wound.

If the dog bite is severe, call 911 first.

But if it's not, go to your doctor or an urgent care center to get the injury treated.

It's important to get it treated as soon as possible in order to avoid an infection.

A Dog Bit Me: Complications Caused by Dog Bites

Dog bites are no laughing matter and they can lead to serious complications.

Not only that, but without proper treatment, dog bite infections could be fatal.

Here are some of the common complications associated with this type of injury:


This condition is a painful infection that results from a dog bite.

It's associated with fever, headaches, joint pain, blistering around the world, swelling, and fever.

Symptoms may appear between 1 to 14 days after the without treatment.

Serious issues like kidney failure, gangrene, and heart attack could also occur.


An untreated dog bite could cause sepsis. It's a severe reaction that's potentially fatal.

It causes confusion, extreme fatigue, pain, and high and low body temperatures.

You'll need antibiotics and intravenous fluids to get over this condition


Rabies is one of the most common side effects of a dog bite.

Some of the symptoms include weakness, itching around the wound, headache, and flu-like symptoms.

Rabies could be fatal if treatment isn't received.

Get to a doctor as soon as possible for treatment.

Thankfully, post-exposure rabies vaccinations can treat the infection.


A bite from a dog could expose you to the tetanus bacteria.

If you come into contact with it, the bacteria could cause muscle stiffness, cramping in the jaw, muscle spasms, and difficulty swallowing.

This is a life-threatening infection that requires immediate medical care.

If you are diagnosed with tetanus, you'll need antibiotics and a tetanus shot.

What Should I Do If A Dog Bit Me?

File a Dog Bite Report

Once you receive the medical treatment, file a dog report with the city or county. Doing so legally documents the incident.

That way, if it happens again, they'll be able to trace a pattern of bites from the same dog.

Without the proper paper trail, the authorities aren't able to enforce dog bite laws.

Collect More Information

After you've identified the owner, gather more information about the dog.

It's imperative to get the dog's vaccine documentation and any records regarding their history.

You'll want to find out if they've bitten any other person or animal before attacking you.

If so, they could be deemed dangerous. This information is vital to ensuring that the dog doesn't hurt anyone else after you.

Take Pictures of Your Injuries

Photos are concrete evidence of the dog bite. You'll want to snap some photos before you wrap your wound.

In addition to taking pictures of your injuries, you should also take snapshots of your torn clothing and any other evidence of the attack.

Call an Attorney

After an attack occurs, you'll need to call a dog bite lawyer as soon as possible.

There are many legal issues involved with dog bites, so having an experienced attorney by your side is a plus.

Your lawyer can inform you of how to proceed with your case and potentially receive financial compensation for your injuries and medical expenses.

Keep a Record of Everything That Involves Your Dog Bite Injury

If you want to receive medical compensation, keep meticulous documentation of everything.

Every day you should write down how you feeling emotionally and how your bite wound feels.

Sometimes dog bite cases take many years to complete. So you may have to journal for an extended period of time.

A Dog Bit Me! Keep Yourself Protected

If you ever find yourself battling a dog bite, follow the tips listed above.

Don't freak out and scream, “A dog bit me!”. Stay level-headed and make sure to follow the proper protocol.

If you learned anything from this article, don't hesitate to read more of our blog posts.

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