What to do if you are bitten by a dog

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Credit: Janie Airey

Getting bitten by a dog is a fear of many people and for good reason. Dog bites can transfer diseases and bacteria to a person and cause serious health problems. In extreme cases, wounds can go gangrenous and present a significant risk to a person’s health.

Press Gently on the Wound

If there is any bleeding, then your first priority needs to be stopping it. Pressing gently on the wound will push some blood out, which will carry some of the bacteria with it.

Wash the Wound

Use water with a little bit of soap to clean the wound; this will help to remove any of the bacteria that remain.  Use a soft cloth to apply the soap and water and gently rub the wound to ensure it is all cleaned.

Stop the Bleeding

If the wound is still bleeding after you have completed the above two steps, you should use a clean cloth to stop the bleeding. Do this by applying pressure to the wound. You might find it easier to tie the cloth tight around the wound. Just make sure that you don’t overdo it.

Apply Antiseptic Cream

You want to be certain that there are no lingering germs or bacteria around the wound, so apply some antiseptic cream. You can also use antiseptic alcohol wipes if you have these to hand.

Wrap the Wound

Once the bleeding has stopped and the wound has been cleaned, you can then wrap it up in a bandage to keep it protected. You should aim to tie the bandage securely, but not overly tight; it shouldn’t inhibit your blood flow. You want to make sure that it is tight enough to protect the wound from contact with germs and bacteria in the air.

See Your Doctor

It is essential that you have any animal bites examined by a doctor. Animal bites can transfer the rabies infection to humans, which can be fatal. Doctors can administer a preventative treatment. By the time rabies patients are symptomatic, it is usually too late to save them. Your doctor can also ensure that your wound has been cleaned properly and isn’t infected.

Consult an Attorney

Make sure that you keep records of any hospital visits or police reports that you make, as this can be vital evidence later on. If you are injured by someone else’s dog, then you will often be able to claim compensation. If you think that you might have a valid claim, consult with a dog bite attorney like Swenson Shelley. They will be able to advise you on the merits of your case and will give you the best chance of success if you do have a valid claim.

Whether you are bitten by a wild animal or a pet, you should report the incident to the relevant authorities. If it’s a wild animal, call animal control so they can track the animal down. This is important in case the animal is suffering from rabies, and also because an aggressive animal may well attack someone else.

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