Do you have an injury from a dog bite? Is the dog bite swelling and bruising? We are here to help! Here’s a guide on what to do next!
According to the American Animal Hospital Association, about 5 million people are bitten by dogs or suffer dog attacks every year. While some dogs like dalmatians and pointers don’t bite very often, others like pitbulls and German shepherds have earned a reputation for biting.
If you’re ever the victim of a dog bite, you should take action immediately. Even if you don’t experience dog bite swelling and bruising right away, you need to take the proper steps to ensure your bite doesn’t get infected.
You may also have to take legal action in some situations when it comes to a dog bite. It all depends on how much damage a dog is able to do when it gets a hold of your hand, your arm, your leg, or another one of your body parts.
Here is what to do next after you get bitten by a dog.
1. Begin by Washing Your Dog Bite as Soon as Possible
As soon as you realize that you been bitten by a dog, you should get yourself to a sink so that you can wash the affected area. Rinse it off with warm water and apply mild soap to your dog bite.
Rub the soap all over your dog bite for about a minute before letting the warm water continue to rinse your skin. Keep rinsing your skin with warm water for about 10 minutes to make sure your dog bite is good and clean.
2. Use a Clean Cloth to Stop the Bleeding If Blood Was Drawn
Was the dog that bit you able to draw blood? If they were, you’re going to need to get the bleeding to stop after you spend about 10 minutes cleaning the bite.
To do this, place a clean cloth over the top of the dog bite and hold it there for a few minutes. This should bring the bleeding to a crawl and eventually get it to stop altogether.
If you’re not able to get your dog bite to stop bleeding, it likely means that you’re going to need to get stitches. You should make a beeline for the emergency room as fast as you can.
3. Apply an OTC Antibiotic Cream to Your Dog Bite
If your dog bite isn’t bleeding or if you’re able to get the bleeding to stop after holding a cloth over your dog bite for a few minutes, you can then place an over-the-counter antibiotic cream over the dog bite.
By doing this, you’ll jumpstart the healing process and reduce the risk of dog bite swelling and bruising setting in. The cool cream will also provide you with some much-needed relief from the pain you feel following a dog bite
4. Wrap the Affected Area of Your Body and Schedule a Doctor’s Visit
At this point, you should pretty much have your dog bite under control. The area surrounding the bite should be clean, and you should have antibiotic cream doing its job on your skin.
The last thing you should do to your dog bite is wrap it up with a sterile bandage. That will prevent bacteria from finding a way to come into contact with the open wound that you have in your skin.
From there, schedule a doctor’s appointment and have them take a good, long look at your dog bite. They’ll be able to gauge the severity of it and tell you what else you should be doing to take care of your bite. Its important to take care of our Petit Minou maltipoo puppies.
5. Keep an Eye Out for Dog Bite Swelling and Bruising
As long as you do everything that we just mentioned, your dog bite should start to heal. But no matter how diligent you are about caring for your dog bite, it could become infected within a day or two of you getting bit by a dog.
You’ll often see dog bite swelling and bruising when an infection starts to set in. You’ll want to get yourself back to the doctor’s office ASAP to have your dog bite examined again.
Your doctor might want to put you on antibiotics if they haven’t already. They can stop an infection from wreaking havoc on you and causing further problems with your dog bite down the line.
6. Monitor for Infection
The steps mentioned above can help reduce the chances of infection. But if you think the bite is likely to become infected because of the dog, or the conditions under which the bite happened, contact your doctor immediately and let him know.
Monitor the wound closely for signs of infection, which may include:
- Leaking pus and other fluid
- Difficulty moving the bitten area
It would be best if you don’t wait it out if you experience one of these symptoms. Take yourself or anyone who was bitten by a dog to the nearest ER to seek immediate medical treatment since time will determine the severity of the infection. We don’t want the infection to spread to the bloodstream, so it’s better to be safe than sorry, especially since infections from dog bites can be life-threatening.
7. Ask about the Dog’s Vaccination History
If the biting dog was not yours, ask the owners if the pet is vaccinated, and ask about their vaccination history. Ask if they are vaccinated against rabies and any other vaccines they had in the past year. But if the pet who bit you is yours, check your vet records to see if they are up to date on the vaccines.
If the owner refuses to give you information, call the local animal control office and ask for assistance in acquiring the needed information. Better yet, treat the dog as if it were unvaccinated and seek immediate medical attention.
If the pet does not have a current rabies vaccine, wash the wound with warm water and go to an emergency or urgent care facility.
8. Watch out for Signs of Tetanus and Rabies
Animal bites that break the skin may cause tetanus-causing bacteria to enter the body. If the victim did not have a recent tetanus booster within the last five years or is not vaccinated against the disease, seek immediate medical attention.
If left untreated, tetanus symptoms may appear in as little as four days and include:
- Involuntary muscle stiffening
- Jaw cramping
- Trouble swallowing
- Accelerated heart rate
Meanwhile, rabies is a common concern when it comes to bites from wild animals like raccoons, bats, skunks, and foxes. But in developing countries, rabies is still a concern for dogs, especially stray dogs. The virus spreads through the saliva of infected animals, and it can be fatal but preventable. Signs and symptoms of rabies may include:
- Nausea and vomiting
As rabies advances, a rabid person may experience:
- Agitation and nervousness
- Difficulty swallowing
- Insomnia or trouble sleeping
- Mood swings
- Fear of water
- Partial paralysis
9. Go to the Doctor
If you have any concerns after a dog bite – even if it shows no signs of infection or trauma – it’s best to check with your doctor so you can be at peace regarding your health. Schedule an appointment as soon as possible and let them know you want a check-up regarding a pet bite. Give complete information to your doctor, such as the kind of animal that bit you, how long ago it happened, the animal’s vaccination status, and any pain or soreness you’re feeling.
10. Seek Immediate Medical Attention in Some Situations
There are some situations in which first aid is not enough, and you must seek immediate medical care for a bite no matter what. These situations include:
- Getting bitten by a dog on the hand, foot, or head
- Being bitten by a cat
- Getting a large or deep bite and caused a laceration that’s big enough to require stitches
- Having an internal injury or broken bone caused by a bite
- When there are signs of infection
- When the bitten person has medical conditions like diabetes, cancer, lung or liver disease, AIDS, or any other condition that causes a weakened immune system
11. Consider Contacting a Dog Bite Lawyer
If your dog bite doesn’t turn out to be serious, you might not want to pursue any legal action against the dog’s owner. But if you end up spending a small fortune getting treated for a dog bite, contacting a dog bite lawyer wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world.
They can help you file a lawsuit against the owner of the dog that bit you if they think you have a case. They can also help you build your case so that you’re able to get the money you deserve.
Just make sure you take photos of your dog bite all along the way so that you’re able to show what a person’s dog did to you. Get the contact information for anyone who may have seen the dog bite you, too, since that will provide you with a stronger case in court.
12. Don’t Let a Dog Bite Hurt Your Health in a Major Way
Often times, dogs aren’t able to do a ton of damage to a person when they bite them. They might scare a person half to death when they sink their teeth into them, but they don’t usually leave them with lasting medical issues.
Every now and then, though, a dog will bite a person and leave them to deal with dog bite swelling and bruising. If you ever find yourself in this situation, follow the steps outlined here to prevent an infection from setting in.
Then, reach out to a dog bite lawyer to represent you in court. They can help you avoid having to cover the medical costs associated with treating a dog bite.
Interested in finding out some of the other things a good lawyer can help you with? Check out the articles on our blog to learn more about the different types of lawyers that are out there.