What to do if you’ve been bitten by a dog

No one plans on getting bitten by a dog. Dog bites are often sudden and surprising, sometimes coming from a dog you already know. If you’ve been bitten, there are several steps you can take soon after the dog bite to best protect yourself. Here’s what to do.

Assess the dog bite

After a dog bite, immediately separate yourself and others in danger from the animal.

Once the animal is in a secure location, examine the dog bite, looking for multiple injuries. Often a dog bite happens so quickly, it’s easy to miss some of the wounds. Dog bites can puncture muscle and tear skin. Look for any open cuts.

How to treat a dog bite

Wash the wound with warm water for several minutes. Clean the area around the cut with mild soap, but take care to not get soap in the wound. Use a clean cloth to apply gentle pressure to the dog bite to slow the blood flow. Apply an antibiotic cream like Neosporin and a clean bandage to prevent additional dirt and germs from entering the cut.

Call 911 if you can’t stop the bleeding or if you feel faint.

Call your doctor for advice on what to do next. Your doctor may recommend treating the wound at home, going to the office for an exam or perhaps visiting urgent care or the Emergency Room, depending on the severity of the injury. Most often, your doctor will want to examine your injuries to check for signs of dog bite infection.

Gather information

Like after a car crash, exchange information with the dog owner and/or home or property owner where the dog bite occurred. You should collect their name(s), contact information and any information about the dog. Ask if the dog has been vaccinated and which vet administered the vaccination.

In addition to talking to the owner, seek information from any witnesses who may have seen the incident. Ask for the witnesses’ contact information as well.

Seek medical attention

The biggest threat to your health after a dog bite is infection. Dog mouths carry many forms of bacteria, as well as viruses like rabies. It is critical you seek medical attention within hours after a dog bite to prevent dog bite infection. When you see your doctor, he or she will most likely clean the wound(s), apply fresh bandages and perhaps prescribe antibiotics. The doctor may administer a tetanus shot if it’s been more than five years since your last dose.

For more serious injuries, blood tests, x-rays, stitches or IV antibiotics may be necessary.


Take photos of any injuries, cuts or bruises you have from the dog bite. It is also helpful to note pain and changes in your mobility or function due to the injuries. Keep a health journal. Keep track of any correspondance you have with the dog owner, witnesses, animal control or your insurance company. Also, write down any expenses like medical bills or therapies you incur as a result of the dog bite.

Seek legal help

Dog bite laws in Georgia protect your rights as a dog bite victim. Animal control ordinance clearly outlines these rights. An experienced attorney will help you seek appropriate compensation for lost income, medical expenses and pain and suffering. He or she will also help negotiate a fair settlement with the other side’s dog bite insurance company using evidence and experience from past cases to achieve the best outcome for your situation.

If you or someone you love has been the victim of a dog bite, call our team today to schedule a free consultation. We are here for you and will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.

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We want to connect with you and help you during this challenging time. If it’s more convenient to communicate via email, please reach out to us at info@watsoninjurylaw.com.