Dogs may be man’s best friend, but even the friendliest canines have sharp teeth. Dog bites may happen for any number of reasons. Whether a puppy is in its teething stage and is going through a nipping phase, or a strange dog feels threatened and attacks, bites can be painful and dangerous. Because dog bites range in their severity, it’s important to know how to assess the wound and how to take action in all circumstances. This post outlines some useful advice for handling dog bites in a number of different scenarios.
Sometimes, when playing with a dog, the canine may be a bit overzealous with its play. Puppies and very excitable dogs may try to nip or bite while playing, and this can lead to superficial scrapes or gashes. Surface wounds may also occur in instances where a dog tries to attack but is unable to puncture your skin. Whether the injury comes from your own pup, or from a friend’s or neighbor’s pet, it’s important to disengage with the dog as quickly as possible in order to prevent further damage. Protect yourself by immediately tending to the wound with clean, running water. Next, apply hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol to disinfect the affected area, and finish by applying a topical antibiotic and bandage. At this level, physical harm is minimal, and a personal injury lawyer is likely not necessary unless the wound becomes infected or psychological damage has occurred.
Next, we move on to puncture wounds. Here, the dog has succeeded in breaking skin. Although sometimes this level of injury can occur by accident during rough play, it is more likely that puncture wounds occur when a dog feels threatened or frightened and intentionally attacks a victim. If this happens, it’s important to remain as calm and level-headed as possible. Resist the urge to pull away from the dog as it is biting you; this will only make the injury worse. Once a dog is biting you, you actually WANT it to latch on. This is because a dog only has one mouth, but you have two hands. If at all possible, reach down and lift the dog’s hind legs from the ground as this will throw it off balance and cause it to release. This will hopefully give you enough time to spray the dog with mace and flee the scene. Also, no matter what happens, always protect your neck and face.
Once you are safely away from the attacking dog, begin to apply pressure to the wound in order to minimize bleeding. Head straight for an urgent care or Emergency Room, or call 911 if necessary. It’s important to have your injuries addressed by a medical professional right away. In many cases, puncture wounds require stitches, and it’s wise to be evaluated for any diseases or rabies that the dog may be carrying. Because dog bites at this level can be very physically and emotionally traumatic, it is in your best interest to obtain your medical records from your treating physician and visit with a personal injury lawyer to discuss your options. You should be compensated for your medical expenses and for any trauma you have suffered.
Disease and Rabies
Any time an unknown dog bites you, it’s imperative that you visit a medical facility to be evaluated for rabies and any other diseases. This is especially true in cases where the attacking dog appears to be partially paralyzed, acts in an overly aggressive manner, or is otherwise behaving strangely. Even when there are no visible or obvious signs of disease, we urge you to be checked out by a professional in order to protect yourself from further losses.
Have you or a loved one been bitten or attacked by a dog? Let the personal injury experts at Mintz Law Firm come to your aid. Call us for a free consultation today.