Dogs have been famously named man’s best friend. Indeed they are. But when you consider the fact that 4.7 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year, that title may be misplaced. What is even more worrying is the fact that a majority of the bites are from dogs from known to the victims. The others are from dogs that are not known to the owners such as stray ones. If one has been bitten by a dog, there are various aspects to consider. But first, here is what you can do to prevent the bites.
- Pick a dog that has good temperament for yourself or the family. This is very important.
- Whenever you meet a stray dog or just any dog you are not familiar with, keep a safe distance from it. Even with its owner around, you are a stranger to it and should thus stay away from it lest it inflicts personal injury on you.
- When a dog is feeding its puppies, never try to play with it. At such a time, the dog would have its animal instinct ready to defend its young ones. Any attempted contact will be viewed as violent by the dog.
- Leaving your children with a dog is not a good idea. It even gets worse when the dog is a strange one to the family. Always have an adult nearby to watch over the dog in the company of the baby.
- Whenever a dog becomes aggressive, never panic and try to run or scream as you will only agitate it. Rather, stay calm and move slowly away. Avoid eye contact with the dog in such a time.
- Never approach a dog aggressively. This may send the message to the dog that you are an enemy at that time. Rather, approach it halfway and allow it to also come to you.
Treating Dog Bites
Dog bites, being a common type of personal injury, need to be taken care of through first aid. While most bites could be taken care of at home, it is always advisable to seek medical advice for safety reasons. If a dog bites you or someone you know at home, take the following steps:
- Start by placing a clean towel over the wound to stop it from further bleeding.
- It is also advisable to keep the area elevated compared to the rest of the body.
- Clean the bitten area with clean water and soap without scratching it.
- Put a sterile bandage on the wound and keep a daily antiseptic to keep off an infection.
If the bitten area gets infected and shows a swelling, pus or other anomaly, you will need to pay the doctor a visit. Even without these anomalies, you should visit the doctor with every dog bite. At the doctor’s place, you will need to answer a few questions such as:
- The identity of the owner of the dog
- If the owner of the dog is known, it should be known whether the dog was vaccinated against the major diseases.
- The reason for the attack in terms of who was provoked.
- Any health conditions the victim has such as hypertension, diabetes and others.
After the examination by the doctor, it will be determined whether to take certain medications such as antibiotics. It will also be determined whether the bite inflicted damages to the soft tissues of the body. In some cases, the wound would be closed by the doctor using sutures. The owner is the dog will be required by the law to compensate you for the injuries sustained.