Dog bites account for more than 4.5 million injuries each year. While it may be easy to assign blame to canine behaviour or assume the dogs who do this are just “bad dogs,” any dog can bite. If your dog bit someone, it can be scary and confusing as to what to do about it.
The team at Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital will explain the steps you should take should the unexpected bite happen.
Remain Calm and Attend to the Situation
We understand that when a dog bite occurs, it warrants a bit of panic. In doing that, though, you can escalate the situation because fear is usually at the helm of aggression. Get your dog immediately inside or in a secure area away from the situation. Help the injured person get what they need to tend to the wound. Some bites need immediate medical care or are an emergency. Offer the person a ride to the hospital and pay for any treatment required.
Exchange Contact Information
Once the injury has been stabilized, make sure to exchange contact information, including a few phone numbers, email, and copy of your pet’s rabies certificate. If you have insurance that covers dog bites, contact your insurance agent and inquire about the next steps.
If the bite results in litigation, it’s best to hire a lawyer to represent you. Make sure to exchange contact information with any possible witnesses, too.
Know the Law and Follow It
Each municipality has their own requirements when it comes to animal related injuries. Most require that you call animal control and report the incident. Many times, the dog will need to be quarantined for 10 days or so, ensuring that no rabies or other contractible disease is present. In some cities, there may be fines or dog bite prevention classes involved.
What Happens Next
The victim will decide whether or not to sue. The good news is that many dog bites are superficial or not serious, and a fellow dog lover will generally let the situation go. Graciousness and sincere apologies go a long way in minimizing a negative outcome.
If the victim does decide to go forward with litigation, hire a lawyer to represent you and give you the best possible options to lessen the damages, fines, and impact on your pet.
Oh, no! Your Dog Bit Someone…
Regardless of the outcome of litigation or not, the bottom line is that your fur friend injured someone. This should be taken very seriously and the best approach to what to do next is to speak with your veterinarian. Has your dog had a history or aggression? Is it sudden or was prompted by a trigger? Get to know your dog’s level of fear in different situations. It’s also important to retrace your dog’s training and socialization background and do a refresher with a trainer or behaviorist.
In the end, all of these steps not only protect other people and pets, but you will have a happier, more confident dog. For more information on dog bites and aggression, or to schedule an appointment, please call us.