Regular exercise is an important ingredient in a healthy lifestyle. It’s highly encouraged that you get at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. And while nobody enjoys running on a treadmill in a boring gym, there’s something invigorating about going on a walk or jog around the neighborhood. 

Most jogs are fairly uneventful, but anytime you’re outside, there can be unpredictable elements. Charging and barking dogs might not be anything new to you. But what happens if that charging dog doesn’t stop at the fence? What if the gate is open and he gets loose – biting you in the process?

Dog bite injuries are, unfortunately, fairly common. Neighborhood walkers and joggers are among the most common victims. Do you know how to respond if you’re bitten?

Common Dog Bite Injures

Dog bites can range from playful to serious. If a dog feels like you’re infringing on his territory, he could attack with ruthless aggression. This can lead to any number of injuries.

“Many people put their hands out in front of them or try to cover their face when dogs attack. A dog can easily latch on to a hand or arm and – due to the force of its jaw – refuse to let go,” The Sawaya Law Firm explains. “The bite can break the skin and tear through muscle. In severe cases, it may even break the bone.”

Other common injuries include puncture wounds, eye injuries, scarring and disfigurement, nerve damage, emotional distress, infections, and, in rare cases, death. 

5 Tips for Dog Bite Victims

If you’re on the unfortunate and painful receiving end of a dog bite, here are some steps you should take:

1. Identify the Dog

As jarring as a dog bite can be, do your best to identify the dog. This could prove to be important information in multiple regards. First off, it may be necessary to test the dog for rabies and/or locate his records. Secondly, this helps you identify the dog’s owner (who may be held responsible for your injuries).

2. Get Treated

“Although you can provide first aid for a dog bite at home, it's very important to see a doctor, especially if an unfamiliar dog bit you, the bite is deep, you can't stop the bleeding, or there are any signs of infection (redness, swelling, warmth, pus),” WebMD explains. “Dog bites can cause infections that need to be treated with antibiotics.”

If the bite is deep, an emergency room is your best bet. Otherwise, an urgent care clinic, or even your primary care doctor could suffice. 

3. Stay Vigilant

Even after getting immediate treatment, it’s smart to keep an eye on your injuries in the coming days. Make a note of any changes or worsening symptoms. 

“Keep an eye on the wound for signs of infection. Depending on the type of infection, symptoms can start appearing within 24 hours up to 14 days after being bitten,” Healthline advises. “Infections can spread quickly throughout the body. If you notice signs of infection, see your doctor right away. You may need oral or intravenous antibiotics.”

4. Contact the Owner

Assuming you can identify who the dog’s owner is, you need to contact them and let them know that you were bitten. This establishes a record of the incident, should you need to press charges or pursue legal action.

5. Hire an Attorney

If your injuries are serious, you could face some pretty stiff charges. Even with insurance, the medical bills can pile up. You’re completely within your rights to hire a dog bite attorney and consider filing a claim. (At the very least, an attorney can help you determine if you have a viable claim.) This isn’t something to feel guilty about. 

Don’t Blame the Dog

In the aftermath of a dog bite, it’s only natural that you want to blame or discipline the dog. However, it’s important that you don’t go after the dog. Domesticated dogs aren’t naturally aggressive or mean. They’re typically just trying to protect themselves and their owners. It’s not your job to discipline the dog – that’s the owner’s role. If you have serious doubts about the owner’s ability to raise a dog in the community, then you can bring those questions up with the appropriate authorities.