Some people like to go for walks around Illinois neighborhoods to clear their heads after a long day or to get in some exercise. These treks can lead to interactions with neighbors’ dogs, ones that usually behave well. Despite a dog’s normally docile temperament, it may unexpectedly lash out and bite someone.

Should an unexpected bite happen, Cleveland Clinic offers guidance on how to respond. An accurate response plan can save someone’s life.

Taking medical action

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, dog-bite victims should get the owner’s contact information and ask if the dog has received a recent rabies vaccination. Going one step further and reaching out to the dog’s current veterinarian to request vaccination records is a good idea, just to be on the safe side.

After speaking with the dog’s owner, it is time to treat the wound. It is best to apply pressure to the wound site. Doing so helps rid the body of any bacteria that may have infiltrated the blood. Washing the bite site with mild soap and warm water is the next step, before working on slowing any remaining bleeding. An application of antibiotic cream sanitizes the wound, and bandaging the wound prevents infection.

Bite victims should see a physician as soon as possible. Recommended actions include changing the bandage as necessary and keeping an eye on the wound for infection. Doctors may suggest a round of antibiotics or stitches.

Once the wound receives medical attention, dog bite victims should take legal action. Looking into the most recent state laws regarding the proper reporting of a dog bite could prevent further bites and keep the owner from losing ownership of the dog.