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First Steps After Getting A Dog Bite

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First Steps After Getting A Dog Bite

First Steps After Getting A Dog Bite

According to the CDC, in the United States, more than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year. Nearly 1 in 5 of those people require medical attention from the bite. Many households have a pet dog, and although you may think your dog would never bite you, or someone else, all dogs are capable of biting. Any dog can bite, however, the risk of them biting is significantly increased when they are scared, nervous, eating, or protecting toys. In order to prevent dog bites,
it is important to recognize the dog’s behavior and act accordingly. It is always best to be preventative, so always make sure your dog’s vaccines are up to date If you see your dog exhibiting any of the above behaviors, leave them be, and closely watch family members or other guests around them. However, if an incident does occur, either with your own dog, someone else’s a dog, or a stray, be sure to follow the guidelines listed below in order to best handle the situation.


Dog bites can cause infections that may need to be treated with an antibiotic. In order to prevent it from getting that far, the first thing you should do after being bitten is clean the wound. Follow these steps to help prevent an infection from developing:

1. Hold a clean towel over the bite to help stop the bleeding.
2. Wash the bite with soap and water.
3. Apply a bandage to the bite.
4. Use antibiotic cream on the bite every day.


According to the CDC, most Capnocytophaga infections usually occur from dog or cat bites but can also develop after being in close contact with a dog or cat’s saliva. It is most common in adults over 40, but it has also been diagnosed in children. Capnocytophaga can over time develop into a more serious problem if not dealt with as soon as possible.

Symptoms of this infection include:
• Redness, swelling, draining pus, or pain around the wound
• Fever
• Diarrhea and or/stomach pain
• Vomiting
• Headache and/or confusion
• Muscle or joint pain
• Blisters around the bite within hours of when it occurred

If you have certain health conditions, you may be at a greater risk to develop an infection.

The conditions that put you at a higher risk include:
• Excessively drinking alcohol
• Not having a spleen
• Immuno-compromising conditions like: Cancer, Diabetes, HIV infection
• Using drugs that are toxic to cells, such as chemotherapy


Infections from dog bites can be very serious, especially if you don’t know the dog, and are unaware of the vaccinations it may or not have. After cleaning the wound to prevent infection, calling your doctor would be the next best step. Your doctor will examine the wound to see if it went deep enough to damage anything beneath the skin that could cause problems. They will also thoroughly clean the wound for you. In some cases, the doctor may recommend stitches depending on the circumstance and where the bite is located. For more severe and deep bites, plastic surgery may be required. If you are unsure if the dog that bit you has had their rabies shot, you may need to get a rabies vaccine, and the doctor will make sure your tetanus shot is up to date. If your bite is infected, the doctor will you prescribe you antibiotics as treatment to kill the bacterial germs from the infection.


If you are bitten by a dog and are unaware if they have gotten a rabies vaccine, or if it looked like it was sick, or acting strangely, you may want to report the incident to your local animal control agency or police department. If you know who the owner is, it is important to contact them and make sure that their dog is current on their rabies vaccination.


You may be wondering what you can do if you or a loved one does get attacked by a dog. In Illinois, the law states: “Animal attacks or injuries. If a dog or other animal, without provocation, attacks, attempts to attack, or injures any person who is peaceably conducting himself or herself in any place where he or she may lawfully be, the owner of such dog or other animal is liable in civil damages to such person for the full amount of the injury proximately caused thereby.” This means that you have every right to sue the owner of the dog for any injuries it may have caused. The owner is liable if you are attacked without provocation. According to Find Law, it doesn’t matter if the owner knew its dog was dangerous, and it doesn’t matter if the owner tried to stop the dog. Regardless, the owner is liable for damages and the person injured is encouraged to seek legal counsel. In the case of a dog bite, with an experienced lawyer, you can receive compensation for medical expenses, emotional distress, pain and suffering, and lost wages. If you are looking for further information regarding dog bites, why dogs bite, and how to prevent them, refer back to: Everything You Need To Know About Dog Bites


Whiteside & Goldberg, Ltd. has worked on many dog bite cases and will work hard to get you the settlement you deserve. They offer a free consultation and do not charge you anything until you win a settlement.

The experienced attorneys at Whiteside & Goldberg, Ltd. fight to secure your financial future. For more information on car accident lawsuits, call 312-334-6875 for the Whiteside & Goldberg Michigan Avenue location and 815-730-7535 for their Shorewood office.

The content of this blog is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute or establish an attorney-client relationship, nor constitute legal advice. If you wish to discuss any further aspect of the material contained herein, please contact an attorney at Whiteside & Goldberg, Ltd.


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