How to Treat a Dog Bite in California
While it is certainly true that they are man’s best friend, dogs are still animals at heart and, especially when raised in a bad environment, it is possible for them to bite in the event that they feel attacked or threatened. Approximately 4.7 million Americans are bitten by various breeds of dogs every single year. 50% of that number is made up of children who are between the ages of five and nine and two-thirds of those children are boys. According to information from the Centers for Disease Control, one out of every five of those same dog bites is hard enough to cause some sort of injury that requires the recipient to seek out medical treatment. Most dog bite sufferers are sent home that same day but around 2% do require some form of hospitalization. Overall, children are also more susceptible to being bitten by a dog than adults because they are not yet able to correctly identify the difference in the emotional expressions between a dog that wants to play and be petted and a dog that is telling them to stay away.
Although obviously feral dogs or simply unknown outdoor dogs are capable of biting, the majority of the time people are actually bitten by a dog they are familiar with, such as a friend’s or neighbor’s dog or maybe even the family dog.
To Help Prevent Dog Bites
- Do your research before you select a dog breed for yourself or your family. Be sure to choose one with a personality that matches your needs. If you have small children, find out if the breed is tolerant of things like loud noises and having its ears and tail pulled
- Don’t randomly approach dogs that you do not know. If the owner is around, ask if their dog is friendly and if you can pet him before sticking your hand out
- Never, ever leave small children alone with a dog, especially one with whom they are unfamiliar
- NEVER attempt to play with or otherwise disturb any dog that is eating or feeding puppies
- In the event that you are attempting to approach an unfamiliar dog, make sure you move slowly (no sudden movements or loud noises). Hold your hand out and palm down to give the dog the chance to smell and approach you at his own pace
- If a dog starts to show signs of aggression, do not scream and do not run away. Respect this as the warning that it is. Keep calm, don’t make any sudden movements, and do NOT make any eye contact with the dog
First Aid for a Dog Bite
While it is entirely possible to administer appropriate first aid for a dog bite at home, it is very crucial to see a doctor if you have been bitten by an unfamiliar dog, if the bite wound is very deep, if you are unable to stop bleeding, or if there are any of the usual signs of an infection, such as swelling, redness, pussy discharge, or the area of the bite is unusually warm. Dog bites do have the potential to cause infections from time to time and it might be the case that you will need a round of antibiotics.
To administer proper first aid treatment for a dog bite at home:
- Place a clean rag or towel over the bite to stop the bleeding
- Do your best to keep the area that was bitten elevated higher than your heart.
- Cleanse the bite wound very delicately with soap and water
- If you have one, put a sterile bandage on or wrap gauze around the clean wound
- Use a topical antibiotic on the wound every single day in order to prevent any infection
- Allow the wound to breathe at night by removing the bandage or wrap. Reapply a fresh wound dressing and antibiotic cream in the morning
- Keep the wound and the dressing clean and dry
If you have been bitten by an unfamiliar dog or even the neighbor’s feisty family pet, you might find it in your best interest to speak with a personal injury attorney. This will help you to learn what the local laws regarding dog bites are and how they might apply in your particular circumstances. A personal injury attorney can also advise you on the best way to proceed with a claim, should that be the route you choose to take.
If you or someone you love has been injured by a dog that you feel was being aggressive for no reason, then you need the services of a licensed, qualified animal injury attorney. Here at the Los Angeles Injury Group, we can help you fight for the compensation for the lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering that you are entitled to under the law. Give us a call for a free consultation with an attorney at (310) 954-7248 today.