Dog bites can be minor or major injuries, depending on the severity of the incident and the strength of the animal. Regardless of the intensity, a bite requires immediate attention.

Here are three things to keep in mind if you encounter an unfriendly dog:

Wash a wound

A minor animal bite, where only the skin in broken, still requires attention. Wash the injury thoroughly with soap and water, and be sure to cover it with an antibiotic cream and clean bandage.

Medical attention may be necessary

There are several reasons to seek the care of a medical professional after a dog bite, among which are:

  • If the wound is a deep puncture
  • If it is difficult to tell how severe the wound is
  • If the skin is badly torn, crushed or there is significant blood loss – if there is blood loss, apply pressure with a bandage or clean cloth immediately
  • If there is a sign of an infection, such as increased swelling, redness, pain or oozing
  • If there is no physical record available that the dog’s rabies vaccination is up to date – the owner’s word is not enough
  • If your tetanus shot is not current – tetanus shots are administered every 10 years, but if the wound is deep enough, you may need a booster if your last shot was over five years ago

Know who is liable

New Jersey statute determines that anyone injured by an animal they don’t own is entitled to recover damages from the animal’s owner, with the only exception being if the injured person was trespassing.

If there is any dispute with the dog’s owner over whether or not you were trespassing, an attorney can help determine if you have a case and sort through the legal details. The negligence of a dog owner should not result in you losing money for necessary medical attention.