Dogs are famously some of the kindest and friendliest animals known to man, owned by tens of millions of Americans and renowned for their loyal and loving nature. Unfortunately, while many dogs are cute and kind, others can be quite aggressive or lash out unexpectedly, and anyone who bumps into a rabid or vicious dog could find their life in danger in a matter of seconds.
It is estimated that half of all US residents will experience one or more animal bites in their lifetime. In fact, the number of animal bite counts in the millions, and it has become harder to keep accurate statistics.
The one thing we do know for sure is that more than one percent of emergency room visits can be attributed to some sort of animal bite. Even more, almost 90 percent of victims are children, and they end up in the ER after interacting with dogs or cats.
In other cases, the injury from a bite might not be quite as severe, and many statistics show that most people are bitten by dogs they know and regularly spend time with, but even if their wounds aren’t life-threatening, they can still be very nasty and painful to deal with, so it’s important to know how to react. Here are some key steps to follow after a dog bite.
Dog bites are serious problems
It is estimated that dog bites account for 80 percent of all injuries caused by animals, and most of these won’t make the news unless a fatality occurs. Being bitten by someone’s pet on or near your property is not as sensational as being bitten by a wolf or maybe a coyote.
However, the number of dogs attack shouldn’t be ignored, especially if you take into account that around 30 cases of dog attacks turn fatal every year. Usually, Rottweilers, Pit bulls, Dobermans, and German shepherds are some of the breeds that will cause significant bite injuries. Even the fluffy husky breed that is known for its difficult temper can cause serious bite damage.
An adult dog has 42 teeth designed to rip, shred and tear flesh, and it’s no wonder that some canine bites will cause gaping lacerations with flesh torn off. Even more, the bite area can swell considerably from the bite’s pressure, and infections are common.
Taking Legal Action
Before we take a closer look at how exactly to treat and heal a wound caused by a dog bite, it’s important to think about the legal aspect of this kind of situation. If the dog that bit you isn’t your own, you could hold the owner liable for any medical fees or damages incurred.
Speaking with an experienced dog bite and personal injury lawyers can help you learn more. The best lawyers will be able to advise you regarding the correct action to take, informing you of your rights, and gathering evidence that could help give you a strong case later on.
Clean the Wound
The first thing to do upon being bitten by a dog is to distance yourself from the animal, get to a safe place, and wash the wound carefully. Often, any physical damage or bleeding caused by the bite isn’t the biggest concern: the threat of infection is what you really need to worry about.
A lot of dogs can carry all kinds of bacteria and germs in their saliva that might enter your body as they bite you, so it’s vital to clean the wound thoroughly, washing away any dirt, debris, saliva, and bacteria too. Make use of warm water and mild soap to clean the area and apply some disinfectant spray or antibiotic cream if you have any.
Stem the Bleeding
If the bite is quite deep, it could bleed for quite a while, and it’s important to stem or stop the bleeding as quickly as you can. Losing too much blood could cause all kinds of additional issues and you may even need to be rushed to the hospital if the bleeding is severe.
Going to a hospital or doctor is a good idea in any case, but in the meantime, you can work to stem the bleeding by using a clean piece of cloth or bandage and applying pressure to the affected area. Naturally, the bleeding should begin to slow down as blood clots form and the body begins to heal itself.
See a Doctor
Once you’ve cleaned up your wound and stopped the bleeding, you should apply a bandage around it and then head to the doctor for a professional diagnosis. This step shouldn’t be ignored or overlooked, even if you feel that the bite wasn’t too severe and think that you’ve managed to clean and treat it effectively on your own.
In many cases, dog bites can seem quite small but even a minor wound is prone to infection. You also can’t be sure what kind of viruses or bacteria the dog might have been carrying itself at the time that could have been passed through to you, so it’s always recommended to visit the doctor and make sure that everything is okay.
Dog bite wounds can be very nasty, potentially leading to severe bleeding, scarring, and infection, so be sure to take the appropriate action and never underestimate the risks associated with a dog bite. Failing to take a bite seriously is one of the worst things you can do, so make sure to follow all of the steps outlined above and visit a doctor as soon as you possibly can.
As stated earlier on, you should also consider legal action if the situation calls for it, and if you’re not sure whether legal action is necessary, it’s still wise to contact a dog bite lawyer and see what they have to say on the matter. They’ll be able to advise you regarding the situation and tell you the best course of action to take, as well as explaining the risks you might incur by continuing without an attorney.
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