Tips for dog bite prevention and treatment

People frequently encounter dogs, and as such, they should be aware of how to prevent bites and how to treat them if they do happen.

Many people living in California find healing and companionship through dogs. However, occasionally a dog can become aggressive, and when this does happen, there is a risk for a dog bite. A bite injury can often lead to complications, even if it does not appear to be severe. Thankfully, there are ways people can mitigate the likelihood of being injured, even if a dog is showing signs of aggression. In case a bite does happen, it is also important for people to understand the steps of treatment.

Preventing dog bites

When encountering an unfamiliar dog, some people will go up to the animal and pet it right away. Some dogs, however, may have a history of aggression or may not like being touched. That is why when encountering a new dog, the best thing to do is to remain still at first, and only reach out to the animal after confirming from its owner that it is okay to pet. Body language is the primary means by which dogs communicate, and a good way to appear nonthreatening is to avoid eye contact and turn slightly away from the dog. Moving slowly and giving dogs a chance to smell them is another way that people can show they are friendly while allowing dogs to feel more comfortable and familiar.

Treating dog bites

According to WebMD, medical attention is needed for one in five dog bites. While the best person to make the determination as to whether extra treatment is needed is a medical professional, there are some steps people can take to treat bite injuries at home. The first thing to do is to thoroughly wash the injury with water and soap to remove any debris and saliva. If the wound is bleeding, applying pressure with a cloth or towel can help to staunch the flow.

Like most other deep cuts or puncture wounds, it is important to regularly change the bandaging. Before application of bandages, people should apply antibiotic ointment. Elevating the affected area can help to reduce swelling and any additional bleeding. Even if the bite does not seem severe, it is important to ascertain from the animal's owner that its vaccinations are up to date. A rabies infection can be severely debilitating and even fatal, and will require professional medical treatment.

The pain and suffering resulting from a bite wound can potentially be life-altering, as can the high costs that medical treatment can incur. Anyone who has been injured as the result of a bite from a dog may be entitled to financial compensation. To explore their options, people can contact an attorney in the local area who practices personal injury law.