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What should you do if you are bitten by a dog?

For many, dogs are wonderful companions and family members. They are loyal, always happy, fun to play with and loving. Dogs are called "man's best friend" for a reason, and most of the time, they fit that bill perfectly.

However, they are sentient beings. With a mind of their own, dogs can be unpredictable, become aggressive, lash out and bite you. A playful nip is common and nothing to worry about. But, if a dog bites you and breaks the skin, the biggest thing you need to worry about is infection. In fact, up to 50% of dog bites introduce bacteria that may cause infection.

The Cleveland Clinic suggests several steps to take when you are bitten by a dog, including washing the wound and applying antibiotic cream. Most importantly, you need to see a doctor as soon as possible after the injury occurred. He or she has a better understanding of how to treat the injury, and will provide additional medical resources as necessary, such as prescription antibiotics or a tetanus booster. The doctor can also test for rabies if the dog that bit you seemed feral or was unvaccinated.

In the end, if you are bitten by a dog that is not your own, most of the time, the owner of the dog is responsible for any injuries caused, no matter how small. Depending on the location and severity of the bite, it may be in your best interest to consult an attorney and file a personal injury claim. You do not want to be left paying for the hefty medical expenses that may result from a serious bite.

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