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What to Do if a Dog Bites You

If a dog attacks you, do not run. Prioritize your safety throughout the attack and seek medical attention for any resulting dog bites as soon as possible. Unfortunately, any dog can bite for any reason, and some pet owners do not take the appropriate precautions to keep others safe.

If a Strange Dog Approaches You…

Be cautious around dogs you do not know and try to stay calm if a strange dog ever approaches you. Do not turn your back to the dog or run away but don’t face the dog or make direct eye contact, either. Whatever you do, do not run, as the dog will likely chase you and this could trigger an attack. Try to make yourself rigid and motionless, keep your hands at your sides, and use your peripheral vision to keep an eye on the dog.

What To Do If Dog Attacks You

If you get the feeling a dog is about to bite or attack you, offer a substitute for the dog to bite down on. For example, “feed” the dog a stick, a notebook, or even your sleeve. If you are carrying a backpack or handbag, place the item between you and the attacking canine.

Otherwise, you may need to “take the bite,” and position your non-dominant arm in the path of attack. Once the dog has bitten, stay as still as possible, so the dog gets bored. Do not panic or try to pull away, as this could excite the dog.

Once you are free, face the dog and say “NO,” firmly. Back away slowly while facing the dog, find a safe distance, and wait for it to walk away. If the dog refuses to disengage and you are strong enough, you can try to push the dog onto its side and kneel on its chest to impair its breathing. Do not push the dog onto its back or you will be vulnerable to its paws and claws.

Sometimes, you will not be able to get away from or overcome an attacking dog. In this situation, go limp and curl into the fetal position. Roll your hands into fists to protect your fingers and use your arms and legs to protect your face and body. Do not fight back and struggle. Instead, “play dead” or let your body go limp until the dog gets bored. Wait until the dog is at least 20 feet away from you, stand up, and back away slowly. As soon as you are safe, call for help and seek medical attention for your wounds.

What Should You Do Immediately After a Dog Bite?

While you wait for medical attention, run warm tap water over the wound for 5 to 10 minutes. Use a mild soap to clean the wound and try to slow the bleeding with a clean cloth. If you cannot stop the bleeding, call 911 or go to the hospital immediately.

If your wound stops bleeding:

  • Apply over-the-counter antibiotic ointment
  • Wrap the wound in a sterile bandage
  • Schedule an appointment with your doctor

Because dogs can carry infections, you may need vaccines or booster shots after a dog attack. Your doctor may apply and prescribe antibiotics to help you avoid bacterial infection. After leaving the hospital, follow your doctor’s instructions. Keep your wound clean and bandaged and change your bandage several times a day. As your wound heals, watch it for signs of infection and call your doctor if you have any concerns.

Paying Your Medical Bills

Dog attacks are traumatizing experiences that can leave you with a mountain of medical bills. If someone else’s dog bit you, you should not have to face these expenses on your own. At Rourke & Blumenthal, we help make sure you don’t have to. We focus our practice on helping people who have been harmed by other people’s actions (and animals), and we have over 150 years of experience successfully handling claims like yours.

Find out what our firm can do for you during a free consultation – call us at (614) 321-3212 or contact us online to get started today.