4 Steps You Should Take if Your Dog Bites Someone

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dog bite

Witnessing your dog bite someone is a highly charged, emotional experience. While seeing this event is quite disturbing, as the pet’s owner, your behavior during those first few seconds significantly impacts how the event concludes. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the best course of action beforehand so you’ll know exactly how to respond when the situation occurs.

Make Sure to Read the Insurance Policy

While most insurance policies are several pages long and written in a way that can be difficult to understand, it is imperative to know if your homeowners insurance covers dog bites to protect your interest. Exclusions can exist as more insurance carriers seek to limit their exposure to liability in this area, and it’s essential to know where you stand as far as coverage is concerned. 

Try to Stay Calm

Adopting a tranquil demeanor is easier said than done, but panicking after witnessing a dog attack is not helpful, and that reaction can make things much worse. Keeping a cool head allows you to think clearly and respond appropriately to the situation by first separating your dog from the attack’s victim and any other potential victims. Put the dog in a crate, kennel, or secure location while attending to the injured party. 

Administer First Aid

In a dog bite, infection is the most immediate concern, and washing the wound with a mild soap before rinsing for five to ten minutes with clean water helps substantially lower infection risks. Stop any bleeding by applying pressure with a clean cloth before applying an antibiotic cream or spray. Wrapping the wound in a sterile bandage keeps the area clean until a doctor evaluates it. 

Be Courteous and Sympathetic to the Victim

Remember that your dog attacked this individual, and no matter your personal feelings about the circumstances leading to the attack, they are the victim. Try to be as polite and respectful as possible, but be careful what you say. Words spoken in the heat of the moment can have dire consequences if the matter is taken to court later on, and you or your pet may be responsible and face possible fines or legal charges.

Establish a Paper Trail

As soon practically possible, contact the authorities to report the incident. The report will provide official documentation while the events are still fresh in your mind. When speaking with the police, explain what happened as objectively as possible, stating only the facts of what you’ve witnessed. Be prepared to provide proof of your dog’s most recent rabies vaccination and any other recent vet shots. 

Prevention is Key

Your pet trust and depends on you to keep them and others safe. No matter how well-behaved, pets can respond unpredictably in different situations. Most communities have a humane society or SPCA within a reasonable driving distance that offers dog behavioral classes. These courses provide beneficial information and training techniques to equip dog owners with tools to prevent dog bites. 

The best dog bite is the one that doesn’t happen. But, if your dog has bitten another person or pet, the consequences can vary based on the municipality. Some jurisdictions require a mandatory quarantine when a dog has bitten a person or another animal, but other places waive this requirement with valid proof of a rabies shot.  

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