What Should You Do If You Were Injured by a Dog Bite?

By Jose Ceja
Managing Attorney

When we think of dogs, we often think of loving companions who enjoy playing and snuggling with their human families. After all, dogs are known as “man’s best friend.” But although many people share beautiful relationships with dogs, not all dogs are full of tail wags and kisses. Unfortunately, sometimes dogs become aggressive and bite. 

There are many reasons why a dog may choose to puncture your skin with its teeth. It may be due to prior abuse or neglect, or it may even be a complete accident. No matter the reason you are bitten, it can still be very serious. This is why it’s essential that you understand what you should do if you are ever injured by a dog bite.

1. Tend to the Injury

After you have been bitten by a dog, it’s imperative that you get yourself away from the dog and to a safe location. After you have done so, it’s important that you tend to the injury. While minor bites can generally be managed at home, more serious dog bites require you to seek immediate medical attention. You should definitely seek medical care should the area of the bite become red, tender, warm, or swollen, or if you feel faint or disoriented, have a fever, or don’t know when your last tetanus shot was. The following symptoms should prompt attention from a medical professional:

  • You were bitten by a dog that was behaving erratically
  • You were bitten by a dog that is not up-to-date on its vaccinations
  • You are in severe pain
  • The bite area leaks fluid or pus
  • The bite area will not stop bleeding
  • Your bone, muscles, and/or tendons are exposed
  • You are experiencing loss of function

2. Clean the Bite to Prevent Infection

Often the biggest risk of a dog bite is not the bite itself, but rather the risk of developing an infection. For this reason, you should always make sure that you clean the area of the bite. If the bite broke the skin, you should wash the area with soap and warm water, also gently pressing on the area in order to get some blood out to expel any germs already there. If you are bleeding you will want to stop the bleeding by pressing gently on the wound with a clean cloth before using antibacterial ointment and covering the wound with a bandage. If the bite did not break the skin, you should still wash the area with soap and water or apply an antibacterial ointment.

3. Obtain the Dog’s Medical History

Once you have taken care of the wound, it’s extremely important to talk to the dog’s owner about its medical history and whether or not it has received the proper rabies shots. It is also important to collect the contact information of the dog’s owner as well as their vet information. But if the dog was not accompanied by its owner when the incident occurred, it’s best to collect the contact information of any witnesses and to find out where the dog (and its owner) live, if possible. 

The Attorneys at Ceja Law Firm Help Those in Houston Who Have Been Injured in an Accident

If you have been injured in an accident due to the recklessness or negligence of another, it’s vital that you understand what you are entitled to under the law. With this information under your belt, you can make important decisions regarding how you want to move forward. That’s why it’s in your best interest to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced Texas personal injury attorney.

At Ceja Law Firm PLLC, we understand the impact that an accident can have on many parts of your life and the importance of properly dealing with such negligence or recklessness. That’s why we will work to get you the compensation that you deserve. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!

About the Author
Jose Ceja is the managing attorney of Ceja Law Firm. He has practiced law since 2007 and has devoted his career to the practice of criminal law. Mr. Ceja began his legal career as a felony drug prosecutor, where he prosecuted drug, gang, and violent offenses. Mr. Ceja has first or second chaired almost 100 trials, including murders, drug cases, DWIs, and assaults. In his career as a defense attorney, he has regularly obtained dismissals, not guilty verdicts, and grand jury “no bills” in a wide variety of cases.