When Should I See a Doctor After a Dog Bite?

treating dog bites

You’ve just been bitten by a dog! What do you do now? How do you know you should see a doctor? There are so many questions you may ask yourself after a dog suddenly attacks you. To help, our dog bite lawyer Las Vegas team discusses what to do after a dog bite and when you should see a doctor after an animal attack.

What Should I Do After Getting Bit By a Dog?

It’s hard to know what to do after getting bit by a dog. If you ever have the unfortunate experience of being bit, the first thing is to assess the wound and administer immediate dog bite care¹ as needed. This may include:

  • Washing the wound
  • Placing pressure on the wound with a clean cloth to stop the bleeding
  • Applying antibiotic ointment
  • Wrapping the wound in sterile bandages
  • Seeing a healthcare professional

What Are the Signs I Should See a Doctor After a Dog Bite?

You should see a doctor after a dog bite in any of the following situations:

  • The dog is unfamiliar to you
  • Bite wounds are deep
  • You cannot stop the bleeding
  • For whatever reason, you are unable to thoroughly wash out the wound with water or otherwise dress it appropriately
  • The dog isn’t up to date on its shots
  • You feel sick
  • There’s a possibility that you need stitches
  • If the injury becomes infected or worsens
  • When symptoms don’t improve
  • When it’s crucial to document the extent of the injuries for a legal claim
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How Do I Know the Dog Bite Is Serious?

There are a few different situations where it’s essential to see a doctor after an animal bite. The first situation is if there is any question about how to treat the injury and receive the most appropriate medical attention. When the injury is anything but superficial, it’s a good idea to see a doctor for dog bite injuries for proper dressing and injury care.

Of course, if you develop an infection or the injury becomes more serious, it’s essential to seek medical attention. Also, if you can’t tell whether the injury is serious or not, visiting a doctor ensures that you’re evaluated by a professional who is trained to make that call.

What If I Don’t Know the History of the Dog That Bit Me?

Another situation where it’s critical to see a doctor is when you don’t know the dog’s history. If you’re unsure if the dog has a violent past, infectious diseases or if they’re up to date on their shots, it’s a good idea to get checked out by a professional.

The doctor knows what things to look for and what problems may arise after a bite from an animal with an unknown history. They can order the appropriate tests and monitor your health.

close up of doctor bandaging a patient's hand

Will Seeing a Doctor Help With My Personal Injury Case?

When you’re injured by a dog bite, you may have the right to claim financial compensation. Documenting the severity of your injury is a critical part of making a claim. When you go to the doctor, they create a record. Your doctor’s report may include the following helpful information:

  • The severity of the injury
  • Damage to the skin, muscle, nerves, tendons, and bones
  • Care and treatment needed
  • Follow-up care required
  • Complications that may arise from wounds
  • Documentation of the date and time of the injury

Knowing what treatment you need can give you an approximate idea of the future cost of your medical care. It can also give you a starting point to measure the pain and suffering accompanying your injuries.

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What Are the Levels of Severity of Dog Bites?

One way to measure the severity of a dog bite is to consider the extent of the injury:

  • No contact: The dog’s teeth don’t come in contact with skin. The dog may bite clothing or come near the victim, but skin contact doesn’t occur.
  • Minor: No broken skin, but there is contact between the dog’s teeth and the victim’s skin.
  • Significant: Puncture wounds are shallow. There may be one puncture wound or several, but they are all minor.
  • Serious: At least one puncture wound significantly breaks the skin. The wounds result from a single bite.
  • Severe: There are multiple bites, and puncture wounds are deep. The victim is severely injured.

Of course, even a minor dog bite can cause significant damage and become infected. Plus, a dog can cause a severe injury without coming into contact with its victim. For example, a dog that tries to attack a victim may send the victim fleeing. The victim may fall over or run into harm’s way.

Measuring the severity of a dog bite can give you a rough indication of the injury, but appearances alone can be misleading. Ultimately, the severity of a dog bite depends on how much damage it causes for the victim and the time it takes to recover.

What Are Common Symptoms After a Dog Bite?

Knowing the signs and symptoms² after a dog bite can help you determine when to see a doctor. Some common problems after a dog bite may include:

  • Redness and swelling
  • Torn skin, bleeding
  • Infection
  • Pain to the touch, tenderness
  • Fever or chills
  • Difficulty using the hand or leg that was bitten
  • Loss of feeling or tingling
  • Mood changes or general fatigue

It’s always best to err on the side of caution and see a doctor. Some signs of serious dangers are subtle. A doctor can help you address any concerns, rule out serious injuries, or get the necessary treatment as quickly as possible.

Woman holding forearm with bite under flowing water indoors, closeup

Why Work Work With a Dog Bite Injury Attorney?

It’s necessary to see a doctor in order to bring a dog bite personal injury claim through a law firm. There must be documentation of the injury that occurred and any accompanying damages. If you’re injured by a dog, you may deserve financial compensation for outstanding medical bills, loss of wages, or other issues associated with dog bite cases. Verifying your injuries with medical treatment is an integral part of your claim.

If you need a dog bite lawyer, Las Vegas personal injury attorney Adam Kutner can guide you through the claims process and advocate on your behalf when a dog injures you. However, the more evidence and documentation you have of your injuries, the stronger your claim will be.

Sources:

¹Watson, S. (30 August 2020) Dog Bites. Fetch by WebMD. Retrieved 15 April 2022.

²Sissons, B. (12 November 2019) What happens if a dog bite gets infected? Medical News Today. Retrieved 15 April 2022.

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