Dog Bite Procedure

Dogs Are Fantastic Pets

Dogs bring companionship and a great deal of joy to a lot of people, but not every dog is friendly. If a dog does not belong to you or you are not it’s handler then you need to be respectful of the dog and the wishes of it’s master.

Today, there are about 75 million dogs in the U.S.A. About 4.7 million dog bites are reported each year. That means that about 6.5% of dogs will bite a human seriously enough to be reported. Out of those 4.7 million reported bites, about 800,000 or one out of six is severe enough to need medical attention. So, each year 1% of dogs will bite somebody seriously enough that they need to go to the hospital. And those figures are assuming that each dog bite comes from a dog who has never bitten before. Most dogs are well behaved and aren’t overly aggressive, but people still need to know how to interact with dogs to stay safe around them and prevent being injured by a dog bite. Most bites are not the result of vicious and aggressive dogs, but rather the result of people who are not aware of the boundaries of dogs. Dogs will bite when they feel threatened or scared and they will bite in self-defense.


Dog Bites Are Easy To Avoid

Most dog bites don’t need to happen in the first place. Knowing the boundaries of dogs and what makes them feel scared is the best way to prevent them. You should never pet a dog when it is eating or when it is sleeping. Dogs are animals and their first concern is self-defense. A dog is defenseless when sleeping, so if it is startled it’s natural reaction is to bite. This bite is a natural reaction that a dog has no control over and may not even know that it’s doing. Another way to avoid being bitten is to refrain from putting your hands over a dogs head, particularly if you are not familiar with the animal. A dog’s neck is a place they consider vulnerable and they will instinctively try to protect it. Putting your hand over a dog’s head can very easily be seen by the animal as a threat. Another thing that dogs take as a threat or challenge is direct eye contact. With dogs that you are not familiar with it is best to avoid direct eye contact as the dog may take it as a challenge. When dealing with a dog that is not yours you should always ask the owner or handler if it is okay to interact with the animal and respect whatever they tell you, even if they tell you “no” or if they ask you to approach the dog in a certain way, you should listen. They know if the dog is well-behaved or not and it is their decision to allow you to interact with their animal. Even smaller dogs can do damage with a bite as there are many forms of bacteria in the mouth of a canine.


Dog Ownership is Responsibility

In most states a dog’s owner is liable if the animal bites. It makes no difference if the dog has never bitten previously or how well it is generally behaved. Dog law usually requires that the owner provide monetary compensation to the victim of a dog bite for medical bills and may require that the dog be quarantined or even put down.


What To Do If You Are a Dog Bite Victim

If you are a dog bite victim you will want to identify the dog who bit you and who the owner is. You should make sure that the dog is up-to-date on all it’s vaccinations. If the dog isn’t, or you were bitten by a dog you can’t identify you may want to get a rabies shot although rabies in dogs is pretty much non-existent now-a-days. If a dog bite is serious enough, or if you can’t identify the dog’s owner to find out if it is up-to-date on vaccinations then you will want to go see a doctor. About 1,000 Americans go to the emergency room for dog bites every day. If you are bitten in the face or you have concerns about disfigurement then you may want to see a plastic surgeon, because emergency rooms are not always concerned with aesthetics. If the bite isn’t serious enough to get you to go to the hospital then be certain that you wash the bite with soap at the very least. Hydrogen peroxide is preferable because dogs have a lot of bacteria in their mouths and you don’t want to catch an infection. Due to this you shouldn’t stitch a dog bite because you may be trapping bacteria underneath your skin. Just bandage the bite and let it heal on its own. Lastly you should contact a personal injury attorney or an experienced dog bite lawyer. A lawyer will help to protect your rights and to make sure you receive the monetary settlement that you are entitled to.


What You Shouldn’t Do If Bitten By a Dog

When bitten by a dog you should not discuss any financial issues connected to the dog bite until you have talked with a personal injury attorney.  Additionally you should not allow recorded statements or permit others to photograph you. You can however photograph the bite for your own personal records, but you should not allow others to do so. Finally you should not discuss the bite with anybody until you have first talked with a personal injury attorney or a dog bite lawyer.

First Aid for Dog Bite Wounds

Dogs eat dogs. Owners would take precautionary measures to prevent dog fights from happening. It is an owner’s responsibility to socialize and to train the pet to lessen its aggression. Apart from being territorial, dogs are pack animals thus dog fights have the tendency to erupt every time dogs congregate in one place. The dogs’ rambunctious play fights often turn into real fights that as dogs have a natural inclination to fight.

A dog can sustain mild to serious injuries from fighting with other dogs. The fur that covers the dog’s skin cannot protect the body from the 200 to 400 pounds of pressure that a dog bite can inflict. The injuries sustained by the dog may appear minor because only small puncture marks can be seen on the dog’s skin. However, the dog bite can cause extensive damage underneath the dog’s skin. Because of the strength of the jaws, a dog’s bite that punctures the skin can also damage tendons and tissues. The bite could have severed blood vessels and pierced vital organs. Many dogs have died from fatal wounds on the throat and abdomen resulting from dog fights.

Dog bite wounds on the face, ears, neck and legs would be easily noticed especially if they are heavily bleeding. Locating puncture wound on the body part thickly covered with fur can be tricky as puncture wounds are not heavy bleeders. A dog’s mouth has large amounts of bacteria thus the risk that the dog bite will get infected is high. The dog may have sustained bite wounds underneath the fur thus the body has to be checked thoroughly.

Dogs fight all the time and being hardy animals most dogs can weather the injuries they have sustained. However, dogs with serious dog bite injuries must have immediate medical attention. Just after the dog was injured, first aid care must be given to save the dog from pain and more importantly, to stabilize the condition of the pet.

Injured dogs are in pain and the owners have to be aware that the dog has the tendency to bite. Thus the dog has to be muzzled for the protection of the person that will administer the first aid treatments. Dog bite wounds must be thoroughly wash with hydrogen peroxide or with warm water to ward off infection. Puncture wounds would heal very fast and bacteria trapped between the skin and the tissues would cause infection. To stem profuse bleeding, direct pressure has to be applied to the wound. Cloth or towel directly applied on the wound would control the bleeding. The condition of the pet can be stabilized with first aid methods but professional medical care would still be necessary especially for serious bite wounds.

Read more about dog bites and first aid for dogs at Sarah’s Dogs.