Dog snarling.

There is possibly nothing more frightening when it comes to canine behavior than an attack or bite. When this happens and your dog is the perpetrator, it can be devastating. You may wonder what you should do next and worry about the outcome. Dog bites, while not to be understated, are a common occurrence and any dog is capable of biting. 

If your dog just bit someone, or did so recently, The Pet Experts at Wheaton Animal Hospital can help you sort through what you need to do next.

When Your Dog Just Bit Someone

There are so many fears associated with dog bites, that it can be confusing to know how to react when your dog bites another person. Will I be sued? What will happen to my dog? What decisions should I make right away? 

Before you begin these important steps, it is important to remain as calm as possible. Emotions may run high, but by maintaining a helpful, calm, and compassionate demeanor, this will go a long way in keeping everyone safe and as relaxed as possible. Being kind and polite will help defuse the situation and will result in a better outcome for you and your pet.

At the scene of the bite, you should:

  1. Remove your dog from the situation – If this occurs at your home or inside somewhere, take your dog to their crate or a separate room. If you are on a walk or somewhere in public, take your pet to another area or the car (unless it is over 70 degrees outside, then you may need to imporvise). The key thing to do is to get your dog out of the situation that might trigger another attack. If needed, call a family member or friend to come get your dog while you help the victim.
  2. Tend to the injuries Help the bite victim as much as you can by getting them treated for the injuries. If it is superficial and no skin was broken, they may just want to shrug it off. However, if the bite drew blood or they sustained a wound, offer to take them to the hospital and pay for the medical expenses. Go out of your way to be helpful and understanding, while getting them the treatment they need.
  3. Exchange contact information Once they have been taken care of, make sure to swap numbers, addresses, and email addresses. Many jurisdictions require this. In the event that anything changes with the bite victim’s health or if they decide to pursue litigation, all information will be needed. It is also important to get the names and numbers of potential witnesses.
  4. Contact your insurance provider Inquire with your insurance company about coverage and report the incident. They will inform you of whatever you need to do on your end and give you suggestions, should you be sued. 
  5. Report the incident with animal control Many municipalities require that any dog bite be reported. Your dog may even be required to be quarantined up to two weeks at the shelter. You will need to show proof of your pet’s rabies vaccination, also, In some cases, there will be fines or your dog may be required to be enrolled in a bite prevention course along with you.

What Next?

It may be a worrisome time for you, as you await any decision about legal issues as a result of the bite. Wait a few days and contact the individual to see how they are doing. Keep the conversation focused on their well-being and your sincere concern for them. Don’t talk details as this can create more problems should they sue.

It’s a good idea to contact a lawyer if the bite caused an injury. At the very least, you have someone in your corner if litigation occurs. Depending on the severity of the bite, the cause may be transferred to civil or criminal court.

The bottom line remains: make sure you are gracious, compassionate, and helpful throughout the process. Many dog lovers will just drop the situation without moving forward with legal action. 

If your dog has a tendency towards aggression, this absolutely needs to be addressed and treated. Please schedule a behavior consultation. If you have any other questions about what to do after your dog bit someone, reach out to us. We are here for you.