Dogs are a common fixture in many neighborhoods. While most dogs are hopefully trained and friendly, for various reasons, dogs may bite. This could happen if they feel threatened, if they are aggressive, or if they have rabies. This is why it is important to not treat strays as if they are pets and to avoid interacting with stray animals. If you have been bitten by a dog, it is important that you seek treatment as quickly as possible. This is because bacteria in the dog’s mouth can make its way into your bloodstream and quickly spread throughout your body. Whether the dog has rabies or not, it is important to act as if you have been infected. There are many diseases dogs can carry that are harmful to humans. Let’s take a look at some steps that you can take to minimize the damage a dog bite can do to your health.

Clean the Wound Immediately

Whether you are bitten by a usually friendly family pet or a stray, you should always assume the bite is infected. While not all dogs have rabies, many have bacteria and germs in their mouths that are harmful to humans. The first thing that you should do is apply soap and warm water to the site of the wound with a clean washcloth or towel. After washing the wound, cover it the afflicted area of your body with gauze or similar material. This will prevent dirt or other debris from getting into open skin and potentially creating additional problems.

See Your Doctor or Visit an Emergency Room

Once your condition is stabilized, make a point to seek additional medical attention as quickly as possible. Your doctor or emergency room care provider will be able to thoroughly examine the bite and make sure you aren’t at risk for secondary health problems. You may be given stitches to close the wound as well as antibiotics to ensure that any bacteria remaining in your body is killed off in a timely manner.

Monitor Your Condition Carefully

If you develop a fever, chills or nausea, it could indicate that your body is still trying to fight off an infection. If you have trouble moving a hand, arm or leg that was bitten, you should seek medical attention immediately. The same is fluid is leaking from the site of the wound or in close proximity to where you were bitten.

You May Be Entitled to Compensation for Your Injuries

It is never a good idea to avoid seeking medical treatment for a dog bite because you don’t think that you can afford to pay for it. In most cases, the dog’s owner will be liable for paying medical bills and other expenses related to a bite injury. A personal injury lawyer may be able to provide greater insight into what your rights are and how to protect them.

After being bitten by a dog, it is important that you seek medical attention. This is true even if you don’t see a bite mark or don’t believe the animal was being overly aggressive when the incident occurred. By seeking treatment in a timely manner, you may be able to prevent an infection and the problems it can cause.