A little while back I was bit by a dog at the dog park. It was a complete accident and partly my fault. My beagle got in a fight with another beagle and I did what an owner should never do, I reached in the middle of it to break it up. The other dog latched onto my hand and went to town thinking it was my dog. As I sat in the emergency room I began to think that I had no idea what I would do if my dog was the one to bite someone. After some research I have come up with the best practice guide of things to do if your dog bites.
Confine your dog
Immediately separate your dog and confine them to a secluded space. If you are in a dog park you can tie them to the outside fence of the park. The key is to remove your dog immediately from the situation as they will likely be nervous and agitated and could strike again.
Help the Victim Get Medical Treatment
If it is an open wound the victim must seek professional medical treatment. puncture wounds can harbor bacteria causing infections and a doctor should check out the wound and decide any necessary aftercare. If the skin is not broken leave it up to the victim to decide the next course of action.
Give Your Information
Provide the victim with your contact information and the information of your dogs vet. You can offer medical records for the dog but understand that the victim might want to check for themselves. They will need to know if your dog is vaccinated and your vet can provide all the dates of your dogs shots.
Once a dog bite occurs, hospitals and doctors are required to report it. This will likely have no long term consequences for you or your dog so cooperate with whatever is asked of you. Provide the correct information about everything and comply with any quarantine your dog might need. In minor attacks by pet dogs the quarantine is often at home. The owner is required to monitor the dog for any signs of rabies. They last a few weeks and if your dog is healthy there should be nothing further once he or she is cleared.
If your dog has a fear or strangers or a quirk that caused the attack, see a professional dog trainer for help. A trainer will work with your dog to prevent this from happening again or recommend solutions to the problem like a soft muzzle.
If they are seeking legal action you should seek legal aid to make sure you are protected. You should understand what your liabilities are and act accordingly. Often many dog bites end cordially with the owner of the dog paying for medical treatment or co-pays while other times the dog was instigated or being threatened and you might end up in court. Make sure you are fully informed and prepared prior to going to court.
My dog bite ended on a very cordial note. The owner had to quarantine the dog at home for 10 days and other than a sore hand we all came out ok. If your dog does bite someone make sure you follow these steps and cooperate with everything the victim needs. A good attitude can make all the difference in outcome. Remember, the goal is to make sure everyone comes out of it ok. Remember prevention is key so know the warning signs. Growling, resource protection and previous aggression or attacks are all warning signs and should not be overlooked.