Prompt medical attention is essential. After being bitten by a dog, you should immediately clean the wound with soap and lots of water. This can lessen the chance of infection. Use gauze or a clean towel to stop the bleeding. If the dog bite has broken the skin, you should seek medical attention. It is best to seek medical attention within eight hours of being bitten. If the dog bite has not broken the skin, watch the site for signs of infection, such as redness or swelling. If there are signs of infection, you should seek immediate medical attention.
Dog bites can vary from a scratch or nip, to puncture wounds from the dog’s teeth, to tearing of the skin. Some breeds of dog will clamp their teeth when biting a person, which typically results in tearing of the flesh. These types of dog bites typically require stitches, depending on what part of the body is bitten. Other breeds of dog will bite and release, leaving only puncture wounds or perhaps not breaking the skin at all. Any time a dog bite punctures the skin, you must be careful of infection.
The risk of infection following a dog attack is great. Dogs carry bacteria in their mouth, which can spread to a dog bite victim. The risk of infection is particularly great if the dog’s teeth puncture the skin. The bacteria from the dog’s mouth gain direct access to your body through the skin. For this reason, you should always take an antibiotic following a dog bite. You should also receive a tetanus shot or a booster shot if you have not had a tetanus shot within the last five years. Tetanus is a serious, potentially life-threatening infection that can be transmitted by an animal bite.
Scarring is a potential long-term consequence of a dog bite. Whether the dog bite results in tearing, or you receive stitches, or even with puncture wounds, scarring is a reminder of being bitten by the dog. You can buy over the counter scar creams which will help minimize the scarring. The action of rubbing the wound with cream helps keep the skin moist which also helps the healing process. When we represent a dog bite victim who has scars from the dog bite, we frequently send them to a plastic surgeon who can advise whether there are any cosmetic procedures which may lessen the visibility of the scar.
There are many potential pitfalls in making a recovery for a dog bite. Perhaps you don’t even want to make a claim against the owner of the dog. Perhaps the neighbor’s dog bit you and you do not want to sue your neighbor. There are issues of whether homeowner’s insurance covers a dog bite. In any of these situations, you should consult with a lawyer who is familiar with dog bite cases.