Actions to Take After a Dog Bite

If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, there are several important steps you must take to ensure your physical recovery as well as protect your future legal claims. These steps include:


Identify the Dog

  • The most important first step you can take after a dog bite is to identify the dog. Find out who owns the dog or where the animal lives. Try your best to take a mental picture of the dog. If the dog bit and ran away it is very likely a stray.

Seek Medical Attention

  • Seek medical attention. Even if the bite appears minor it is important to get it checked out. When skin is broken by a dog bite it is very likely to become infected. Depending on the severity of the bite, contact 911 or have someone drive you to an emergency room.

Treat the Wound

  • If you do treat the wound at home immediately wash the wound with mild soap and clean water. There are various bacteria in the mouths of dogs, which can cause harmful infections. Washing the dog bite is the best way to get rid of dog saliva and harmful bacteria from near the wound.

  • The Cleveland Clinic recommends these steps: 

    Press on the wound gently to cause some bleeding to help flush out as much bacteria as possible.

    Wash the wound with mild soap and water.

    Slow the bleeding with a clean cloth.

    Apply over-the counter antibiotic cream if you have it.

    Wrap the wound in a sterile bandage. Keep the wound bandaged and see your doctor.

    Change the bandage several times a day once your doctor has examined the wound.

    Watch for signs of infection, including redness, swelling, increased pain and fever.


Report the Bite

  • Report the bite to your local health department.  If the dog is a stray and you cannot identify it, you may be forced to undergo a series of rabies shots, which are expensive and painful.
  • Report the dog bite to your local animal control office and the police.

Identify the Owner

  • Identify the owner by gathering information.  Obtain the name and address of the dog owner, in addition to the dog license information. Find out if the has a past history or record or any other bites. If the owner is identified then you are very likely entitled to compensation because of the dog bite law. Identification of the owner will also protect you in testing the dog for rabies so that you do not have to endure the rabies vaccine. A rabies vaccination can be expensive, time consuming, and painful. If you can get the dog tested for rabies, you can avoid treatment.

Take Photographs

  • Take photographs of the injuries caused by the dog bite as soon as you can. You will also want to document the extent of your injuries. It is also a good idea to write down word for word how the accident occurred. This preserves a record of events that can be forgotten or clouded over time.

Phillips Law Offices - Dog Bite Injury Attorney

  • Consult a Nevada County or Placer County dog bite lawyer (depending on where the bite occurred) at the Phillips Law Offices as soon as possible. Dog bite laws are complex and hard to understand. We can will help you sort out the complexities of your case and get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries. You may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages, medical expenses, and other out of pocket expenses relating to the injury. Time is of the essence and we can immediately assist in identifying the owner and the dog involved.