A dog bites a man's arm.

Your dog biting someone is quite possibly one of the most challenging and upsetting experiences you could face as a pet owner. Even the most gentle dog is capable of aggression under the right circumstances, so having a plan in place should it happen is essential.

If your dog bit someone, The Pet Experts at Naperville Animal Hospital are here to help. Let’s get started.

What To Do if Your Dog Bites Someone

The worst has happened – your dog bit someone. Your main goals in this moment are to stay calm and provide assistance to the victim.

Consider the following:

  • If you’re on a walk when the incident happens, regain control of your dog immediately. Put your dog in another room or their crate if you’re at home before attending to the victim.
  • No matter how minor the wound is, medical attention is always necessary after a dog bite. Offer to drive the victim to the nearest urgent care or to contact a friend or family member. Call 9-1-1 if an ambulance is needed.
  • Treat the victim with kindness and empathy, and avoid defensiveness and placing blame, even if you feel the victim is at fault. Be aware that anything you say can be used against you should the victim decide to sue.
  • Exchange contact information with the victim, including insurance information if applicable. Exchange contact information with witnesses, if there are any.
  • You may or may not be legally responsible for the victim’s medical expenses, but offering to pay is the right thing to do and may avoid a messy situation down the road.
  • Contact your veterinarian to get your dog’s medical records.
  • If you are contacted by police or the victim intends to press charges, seek legal advice immediately.

Avoiding A Bad Situation

Preventing your dog from biting someone in the first place is obviously better than dealing with the aftermath. Although we can’t always predict it, there are plenty of ways pet owners can safeguard both their dog and other people.

  • Put your dog through a basic training course, and make sure they are properly socialized in puppyhood, and continue training and socializing them all the way through adulthood. A well trained and socialized dog is at a lower risk of injuring themselves or others.
  • Never punish your dog with physical or verbal aggression, as this can bring about aggressive behavior in them. Reward your dog for good behavior, instead.
  • Get to know your dog’s body language and signs they are getting stressed (such as yawning, lip licking, tucked tail, or flattened ears). Keep an eye on them when around other people and remove them from the situation if you notice tension building.
  • Keep your dog on a short leash or fenced-in area. Only let them off leash in permitted areas if you are confident they can handle it gracefully.
  • If you know your dog has fearful or aggressive tendencies, always err on the side of caution and keep them out of situations where they may end up biting another person or pet.
  • Make sure your dog is up to date on their vaccinations and parasite control.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information on dog behavior, or to schedule an appointment for your pet.