If you’ve ever played a bit too hard with the family pet, you know not every animal bite requires medical treatment. Nevertheless, some dog bites are more serious – and you need to know what to do and when to seek treatment.
Whether a dog you know bites you or a strange dog attacks you on the street, respond right away with these simple instructions.
Wash the Wound and Stop the Bleeding
When it comes to dog bites, the biggest risk is infection. Wash your wound gently with warm tap water and mild soap. Once you have cleaned your bite, place a clean towel over the injury and use it to slow the bleeding. Keeping the injury elevated can also slow bleeding and reduce swelling. If you cannot get your wound to stop bleeding, seek medical attention immediately.
Cover Your Bite
After your wound stops bleeding or the bleeding slows down, you can apply over the counter antibiotic cream and wrap the wound in a sterile bandage. If you know the dog that bit you, keep an eye on your injury and watch for signs of infection. Change your bandage several times a day and reapply antibiotic ointment every day. Call your doctor if your injury swells or gets worse.
If you don’t know the dog that bit you, see your doctor as soon as you can.
Go to the Doctor
After any kind of dog bite, you should go to the doctor. Your doctor will clean the wound again, apply antibiotic ointment, and prescribe an antibiotic if there are any concerns about infection. Your doctor may also ask you questions about the dog that bit you and where and how your injury happened.
In some cases, your doctor may recommend a tetanus immunization booster, and in others, your wound may need to be sutured. If you are bit by a stray or unvaccinated dog, you may need to get a rabies vaccine, as well.
Severe dog bites may also require more extensive treatment, such as plastic surgery. Your doctor will help you choose the treatment that is right for you.
Do I Need to File a Lawsuit?
Just like some animal bites don’t require treatment, not all dog bites justify a dog bite lawsuit. If your own dog bit you, for example, you do not have grounds for legal action. Conversely, if someone else’s dog bites you, that person can be held liable for your medical expenses.
In severe dog attacks, dog bites that affect the face or genitals, or situations where dogs attack children, you should consider filing a lawsuit to help you recover compensation.
For any questions about filing a dog bite lawsuit or to get started with a free consultation, please contact Lauri J. Goldstein & Associates, PLLC at (866) 675-4427 or online. We are available 24/7 for your legal needs!