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What should you do after a dog bite?

As an animal lover, one of the last things you would expect from your beloved four-legged companion is getting bitten. Unfortunately, millions of people in Pennsylvania and across the country are bitten by dogs each year. Most bites are from dogs people know and trust.

You might find it concerning that out of the roughly 4.7 million annual dog bites in America, half occur to young children. Senior citizens and door-to-door workers are also highly susceptible to an unprovoked dog attack. One out of every five dog bites is severe enough to require a visit to the emergency room, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

What should you do after you are bitten by someone else’s dog? The following tips may prove useful:

  •        Take down the dog owner’s contact information and ask for a copy of the dog’s shot records. It is crucial to know whether the animal has been vaccinated for rabies.
  •        Call animal control authorities and law enforcement to file a report. You might not be angry with the dog’s owner, but making an official report is important for your insurance claim and may protect others from a potentially aggressive dog.
  •        See a doctor if the bite looks severe enough to require stitches or begins to show signs of infection, such as swelling and redness. Keep in mind that although puncture wounds may look minor, they are difficult to clean and may harbor bacteria and should be seen by a doctor.

Along with many other dog bite victims, you might not realize how important it is to report a dog bite, no matter the severity. It may be the first time the dog has ever bitten anyone, but it is also possible the dog has a history of attacks. In this case, animal control needs to be informed so there are no more victims. 

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