No matter what breed, size or personality of the dog, there is always a chance that it will attack and bite. Dogs often bite because they feel threatened or pinned down, and some are trained or bred to attack when they feel their owners are in danger. Others may attack and bite for no known reason. Dog bites can often result in serious injuries including infection and even death in extreme situations. Because owners and victims alike are rarely prepared for a dog to attack, it is important to know what to do when it happens.

Identify the dog and who owns it

Get any witness information and the names and addresses of anyone involved in the attack, particularly the dog’s owner. The owner should be able to tell you if the dog is up-to-date on its shots, otherwise you may have to undergo painful treatment for rabies or other diseases.

Get medical care

If the injury or bite is severe, you should always call emergency services to come treat the injury, or have someone take you immediately to the emergency room. No matter how minor you feel your injuries are, you should always have them checked out by a doctor to deal with the risk of infection.

Take pictures

Photograph your injuries, even if you must take bandages off or remove gauze to do so. Photograph any bruises, torn clothing, wounds and the location of the attack for your records.

File a report

Once you have been medically treated and have the information from the dog’s owner, you should file a report with the proper county or city authorities to legally document your case. This not only helps your cause but may provide help to anyone who is bitten or attacked by the same dog in the future.

Train your dog

If you are concerned about the possibility that your dog could bite a visitor, you can reduce your risks by choosing a breed that has a good temperament. Never leave your dog alone with young children, and never play with a dog that is feeding puppies or eating. Always give new dogs a chance to approach you, and stay calm if the dog becomes aggressive. Don’t make eye contact with a dog that is being aggressive or skittish.

Contact an attorney

If you or someone you love has been injured by a dog bite, you can benefit from speaking to an attorney about your options for compensation and treatment for your injuries.