Course of action if you are bitten by a dog

What would you do if you were bitten by a dog?


Dog bites are pretty quick to happen. As a matter of fact most dog bites come unexpected mostly because many people of unaware of the dog's body language. If you were bit by a dog you are in very good company, according to the CDC (Centers for disease control) website, every year approximately 4.7 million people are bit in the U.S.A. That's about 2% of the population!

The few first minutes following a dog bite are the crucial ones because they will be decisive on many factors. You have many rights when you are attacked by a dog so it is fundamental that you do everything correctly so to carefully preserve these rights.

1) First of all even though you may be shocked try your best to take a mental picture of the dog. If the dog bit and ran away, very likely it was a stray. You will need to give a good detailed description concerning the dog's breed, color and size to animal control officers so they can look for the dog and hopefully capture it.

2) Of course seek immediate medical attention even if the bite appears minor. When skin is broken by a dog bite it is very likely to become infected. While waiting, wash the wound with soap and water to clean the area up from bacteria and control the bleeding.

3) Report the bite to your local health department.They should be able to inform you about the dog's rabies vaccination status. Do not trust the owner if he is stating his dog is "up to date" on all its shots. If the dog ends up being a stray and its whereabouts are unknown, you will be required to undergo extensive rabies treatments which can turn out being pretty painful.

4) It is also very helpful to report the incident to your local animal control office and your local police department.

5) If the is owner is identified then you are very likely entitled to compensation because of the dog bite law. The compensation will be for all medical bills, pain and suffering and loss of earnings from work as well. Get the dog owner's information, address and contact numbers.

6) As soon as possible take good pictures of the bite wound as this may be helpful in a court of law.

7) Consult an attorney as soon as possible. Many times your rights can be easily lost if there is a delay on reporting the incident. The earliest the better. Keep in mind as well that there are many attorneys specializing in dog bite incidents.

Dog's may be considered man's best friend but unfortunately dog bite incidents appear to be increasing each year. This appears to be due to improper training, back yard breeders, and owners that abuse/neglect dogs. Keep in mind that Dogs usually do not naturally attack humans unless they were trained to do so or are not properly socialized. Keep yourself away from trouble by keeping your children under control and thinking that any dog is not 100% safe. This will help reduce the number of dog bites and the negative stereotyping of certain breeds.

Never try to pet a stray dog or a dog which you are not familiar with. If a stray or unleashed dog approaches you, resist running away even though this feels like a strong urge. Rather, stand immobile as possible and allow the dog to sniff you. Tell children as well to follow these guidelines since children are the most common victims of dog bites.

These steps may hopefully prevent a dog from biting you, however in the unfortunate event you happen to be bit follow the above guidelines carefully. Your rights are in your hands, do not allow them let to escape through your fingers, leaving you with permanent physical, mental and financial scars.

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Comments 28 comments

catherine 6 years ago

ohh me ive been bitten by dog

Lawrence 6 years ago

I totally disagree as I was bitten by a dog and it was totally unprovoked. As a matter of fact the owner was standing right there watching. On several occasions (as I was doing work for her in her yard)the dog was come close to me and she would call him off. I didn't understand this until later that afternoon when I was stepping away to go to another area of the yard and the dog came up and bit me on the left ankle then while moving this foot forward he ran over to the other leg and took a slug out of it. The owner said "Wow, he hasn't done that for a long time"!

Elena 6 years ago

There are dogs that will bite unprovoked. Most bites, however, come from dogs that are scared, protective, territorial, or insecure. Insecure dogs may come off as unprovoked bites and are usually because of a napoleon complex or the need to not be seen as weak. Just ignoring a dog can make it upset enough to bite you in certain cases. Unprovoked dog bites do happen, though, which just means you have to be extra careful because just because a dog is someone's pet doesn't mean it's friendly.

jessica meece 6 years ago

a bull mastiff attacked my young son. My children were playing in the yard and driveway and the dog jumped the fence and my poor little guyt started running; but he was caught and received more then 300 stitches all over him; from his rump to the top of his head; also about 50 stitches in his face; near his eye. IT has been so traumatic for us that we won't go on walks anymore and we're scared even at a park. Its' hard somedays. My husband cut his hair and now you can clearly see the 7 pla`ces on the back` of his head where it was sewn back shut. Hair doesn't grow there and he looks really hurt still. I never ever though this would happen to me :(

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alexadry 6 years ago from USA Author

That must have been a terrifying experience. I hope all is well now... was this dog yours? How did he manage to jump the fence? Unfortunately running away only builds up prey drive in dogs and may cause an attack, for future reference, tell your child to ''become a tree'' see my hub:

gustavo 6 years ago

I was just bitten by a dog for no reason just because they were like 7 and i was just passing through with no intentions to perturbate those dogs and from the sudden one of them started barking and the next second I left i was bitten, I just thought that fucker just stripped off my pants, but later that day i realized the injure. So it is not true that you will have a first warning!

alexadry profile image

alexadry 6 years ago from USA Author

Well... barking is a warning, it was the way this dog was asking you to leave his territory. The way he bit you seems to fit a fearful's biter profile, a dog that bites the moment you turn away. In this case, it would have helped not turning your back to the dog (Walking backwards or turning around frequently may have prevented this). These coward dogs generally are intimidated if you are facing them but will strike the moment you are about to leave (favorite biting spots are generally the buttocks and back legs). Generally, this types of bites are some of the least harmful because the dog bites in a hurry, versus a mad, dominant dog that will hold on and face the intruder. Also, being in a pack, dogs often feel a little more bold and may be more likely to attack...

Here is an interesting hub about this:

Make sure you disinfect well the wound and seek medical attention if you are not up to date on your tetanus shot...

mark 6 years ago

I was walking my 4 mo old mutt today when a 65 pound brindle pit came running down the sidewalk at us, all i did was tell him to stop and he did. I brought him home on voice command put him on leash and found his house. All dogs have reasons for what they do and as some of the other posters have pointed out acting like a tree is just dumb. Take a confident step forward and address it in a clear deep voice. Have your hand open and down at your side and out in front about a foot, so they can sniff it. Watch the dog, they do send pretty clear signals with there body language, if the hackles are down and it doesn't look scared your going to hit it your probably fine. it has been my experience that dogs usually bite because a) they were trained to b) they were abused c) you provoked it . Also watch out as not all dog triggers make sense, my big mutt bites bikes and trys to grab peoples purses, bags with his mouth when we are walking. My friends rescued pit bull would bite you if you picked up a tire or round tire like object.

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alexadry 6 years ago from USA Author

Think as you want, but I prefer the stand still as a tree option and allow the dog to sniff you...the moment you put out your hand in front of you about may be the second a defensive or aggressive dog may strike...I would keep the hands and arms out of harm's way..

I did not make this method of standing still up. It is actually recommended by the ASPCA dog behaviorists

Liz 5 years ago

Great steps but some dogs are just bad! I got bitten by a dog as I passed him on the footpath. He was on his leash with his owner and I was minding my own business! Dogs can just be plain unfriendly and evil!

amit varma 5 years ago

the dogs are always make more problem which is you are lucky if you solve it ,if it bite to human to reach to the hospital to give second life to you ,otherwise you will die , die with disease of dog bite .

mrs fitton 5 years ago

well i was biten tonight and it WAS unprovoked by me i was walkking my friends little dog and it ran over to greet her and she warned him that she was not interested in playing the onwer came ove got he dog then we started to walk away and the dog came back and if i hadn't picked my friends dog up she would have been bite or worse and the other dog bite me in the arm after he jumped in the air after the dog i was walking so i did not provoked it at all it was the agressor and it was not leashed and were im from there is a leash law that all dog mustbe leashed or in a fenced yard this happened 5-25-2010 at like 7 pm at night

alexadry profile image

alexadry 5 years ago from USA Author

You are obviously entitled to compensation especially since this dog was off leash, see a doctor for the bite if it broke skin as many bites get infected and verify the rabies vaccination status of this dog. It may appear unprovoked to you, but it sounds like this dog was really going for the dog in your arms and misjudged due to being overly aroused and got you. I hope you are ok, my very best wishes!

Phill4real 5 years ago

I just got bit tonight after racing down the road on my bike... Bit my on the ankle just one tooth broke the skin. I was bit by a pack of 'wild' dogs a few years ago and had my rabies vaccinations. Neighbor isn't home, hope the dog is up to date on its vacc's.

Daisy 5 years ago

My son was bit in Dec. And it was unprovoked. He was at a friend of my dads playing a video game when the dog attacked his foot. 23 stitches, a crushed foot bone and an additional hospital stay because of infection. Over $15,000 in medical bills and the homeowner will NOT give us the insurance info. Cops never came, health dept never contacted me until I called them. I was told in July the dog was not vaccinated. I have had an attorney since Feb. but still not getting anywhere. I found out after my son was bit that the dog had bit before (on record) and has bitten since. How does the law enforcement and health dept get away without enforcing dog bite laws? Clearly a case of "who you know" Im afraid. I see it as negligence!

No name 5 years ago

I was bit by my friend's dog tonight. She had him on a leash and told me he was abused by the previous owner's roommate. He seemed excited and happy because he was wagging his tail and sniffing me. I reached to pet his head and he bit my arm. He didn't latch on and I cleaned the wound. She told me that he's not up to dates on his shots and felt terrible about what happened to me. I don't want her to have to put her dog down, but I want to make sure that I didn't get rabies either. What should I do?

alexadry profile image

alexadry 5 years ago from USA Author

Washing the wound well is very important. This is a tough call, Rabies is a very serious disease, and even though it is becoming rare, there are still a couple of cases each year. For safety sake I would contact your local public health department and ask them about the best course of action, here is a link about rabies:

ann 5 years ago

a neighbor's dog likes to run along the sidewalk. It chases pedestrian. It scares me also as he sniff and follow me. everytime I passed across their house. Is he going to bite anytime soon?

alexadry profile image

alexadry 5 years ago from USA Author

Ann, it is hard to say, it depends on the dog's temperament. If he is just sniffing and trying to follow you, there is nothing wrong with that, but some dogs at times, may bite when you turn around when they are fearful. A dog should really not be allowed to run at large like that. If he bites the owner is at fault. Neighbors should complain and have animal control contact the owner to give him a warning.

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alexadry 5 years ago from USA Author

Ann, it is hard to say, it depends on the dog's temperament. If he is just sniffing and trying to follow you, there is nothing wrong with that, but some dogs at times, may bite when you turn around when they are fearful. A dog should really not be allowed to run at large like that. If he bites the owner is at fault. Neighbors should complain and have animal control contact the owner to give him a warning.

ag 5 years ago

has anybody sued the owner after getting bit by a dog? and if so, did you hire a lawyer or tried to do it on your own?

uh-huh 4 years ago

So, mark, your dog bites bicycles and people's bags. So did you train it to be a thief? Was it abused by a purse? Or are you just a negligent jerk who doesn't bother to train his nasty dog? You should both be put down.

Tammy 4 years ago

My daughter was bit on her upper leg by a family members little male dog. It's actually the second time he bit her. The firt time he bit her on her stomach. My daughter didn't even do anything to the dog. He just bites her. Im not even welcomed at the owners house. We don't get along and I don't want my daughter to keep getting bit by this dog when she goes to visit the family members home with her father. Its his family. What do I do?

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alexadry 4 years ago from USA Author

I am not the best person to ask since this is a family issue. Of course, you cannot allow your daughter to be repeatedly bitten! Ask the dog to be kept in another room or crated or stop your daughter from visiting until the dog is under better control. Why is nobody keeping an eye on the dog. especially after having bite once already?

Ellen 4 years ago

Last weekend my son was bite by a family members dogs. This the 3rd of my family that has been bit by the same dog and other relatives ( all men ) have been bite) Petting the dog then turning to walk a way,petting the dog and just pulling your hand away . Almost every time another family member (not the owner)was holding the leash. Should we just not go there any more or what ?

alexadry profile image

alexadry 4 years ago from USA Author

Because of this dog's bite history, it is your family's member responsibility to keep this dog confined when visitors come over. This would mean crating the dog or keeping it in another room. Common sense. As you can see, holding the leash is not enough to keep this dog under control. Bites are fast to happen and take place in the blink of an eye. The big question is: if this dog already bit two people, why is the owner still allowing people to interact with this dog? This dog needs to stop rehearsing this behavior and the immediate intervention of a dog behavior specialist.

Jack Steel 4 years ago

I was bit just this morning by a little mutt while I was out jogging. He only managed to break the skin real good and leave a good bruise. The owner was home and I informed her to keep her dog up in a pen or the next time I jog this way I'll be packing my 45. Which I wont bother doing but I am going out tonight to invest in some cans of pepper spray. I usually ingore the dogs that come up to me while Im jogging or when they get close I stick my hand out and tell them to stay. Not anymore, every dog that approaches me (famalier and friendly included) is going to get hosed down with pepper spray. The woman from this morning said she was going to take the dog to the vet right away to have it put to sleep, (which I don't believe whatsoever) I told her not to do that and that she just needed to keep it pinned up. I really hope she didn't take it to the vet because I really want to use the pepper spray on it first.

Marci Powell 4 years ago

Neighbors dog bit me we were trying to fix the fence he broke several times the boards and continuously charged the fence

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