Each day, more than 1,000 people across the U.S. are treated at the emergency room for personal injuries suffered as the result of a dog bite, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). So if you are a victim of a dog bite or your dog bites someone, what should you do?
Dr. Marty Becker, a veterinarian and frequent contributor to ABC’s “Good Morning America,” says that the first thing you should do is immediately wash the wound with soap and water because “you want to flush the wound out.”
Sherry Woodard, an animal behavioral consultant with Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah agreed with Becker, adding that you should “have someone who knows what they’re doing wash the wound” if it’s a serious bite and recommended seeking medical attention.
The next thing you should do is to contact animal control to report the incident. The vast majority of victims are acquainted with the perpetrator, so there is typically no reason to attempt to capture the culprit as the victim will know where the dog lives. If the attacker is a stray, that’s even more reason for animal control to be contacted.
Animal control will want to see medical records for the attacking dog, which is why your dog’s rabies inoculation should be kept up-to-date. If a dog isn’t current, animal control could take it away for rabies testing.
If your dog is involved in an attack, let the victim know you wish to remain involved. Get all of the details and piece what happened together. After you have that information, you may wish to visit a vet, as an underlying condition, such as age, pain, or illness, could have prompted the attack.