What to Do After Your Dog Bites Someone
You can be as careful as can be, and your dog may be the sweetest, cutest, fur baby to ever grace the earth, but if they feel threatened a dog is going to bite. It might come “out of the blue” but it does happen, so it’s important to take all the precautions to avoid it and know what to do should the situation present itself. You have a responsibility to the person bitten and to take the right measures to ensure it doesn’t happen again, as well as the financial burden.
For more information, take a look at our guide to what to do if your dog bites someone.
See the signs and avoid it in the first place
Dogs are not about to bite without warning whatsoever, and in fact they will often signs of aggression. These include growling, snarling, snapping, baring their teeth and lunging. Don’t punish your dog for voicing that they are uncomfortable by growling or snarling. They are simply telling you that they don’t feel safe. And it’s worth remembering that they won’t all growl, but are more subtle with their signs, like the ears going back, yawning, licking their lips, etc. and are often mistaken for having bitten “out of the blue”.
If you are passing a dog on the street and your dog starts to show these aggressive signs, you should quickly walk away, never getting close enough for a scuffle, which is why your dog should be on a leash. This is to serve another purpose of avoiding any owners getting bitten either. Many people try to get in the middle of a scuffle and end up getting bitten themselves. Do not put yourself between the two dogs, or you will end up hurt.
But that’s probably not helpful if you are looking up this guide after the problem has occurred, so we’ll move onto…
Dealing with the bite
Before you do anything, get your dog out of the area. If you’re on your property, get them inside the house, if you’re near the car, stick them in the car, or tie them up until you have dealt with the victim of the bite. Keep calm while you do this, or you will simply rile up your dog more, but be firm with them to get them away from the situation.
Once they’re blocked from the situation, you can attend to the victim. Clean out the wound with warm soapy water as soon as possible and contact a medical professional. Don’t try to judge if the bite needs to be looked at by a medical professional by yourself. Bites can go from alright to serious very quickly, so get a professional involved as soon as possible.
While you’re on the phone, you can contact someone for the victim, a family member or friend to help them out. Exchange contact information with the victim and try to get any witnesses contact information for the future.
Check your insurance
A third of all liability claims are due to dog bites, so if you have homeowners’ insurance, you can avoid the financial side of the problem at least, though the rest is up to you and the law.
Homeowners insurance covers personal liability, which means that if your dog bites someone, whether out in the world or within the boundaries of your property or causes damage to someone else’s property, the victim’s medical bills (or vet bills) will be covered.
Once the dust has settled and the immediate danger is dealt with, take a look at your insurance policy, and see what you have to do to claim. But also, contact the local authorities to inform them of what has happened and call your vet to gain any necessary medical records.
Dogs and the law
The medical records are important for the future. Laws differ depending on location, but you will have to prove that your dog has had its rabies vaccination, and your dog might have to go into quarantine.
Research the laws in your area to be sure what is in store for you and your dog. For example, if your dog has a history of biting, and depending on the severity of the bite, they might be designated a “dangerous dog” and might need to be put down. Plus, you could be considered legally responsible, facing fines or charges, or even a civil suit.