Dog owners have a duty to ensure that their pet doesn’t harm others. Unfortunately, not all dog owners take the time to properly socialize and train their animals. When they don’t, they are putting everyone around them at risk of suffering from a dog bite. When you consider the fact that over 36 percent of homes in this country have one or more dogs, you can see why proper handling is vital.

One of the most important things to remember is that you shouldn’t approach a dog that you aren’t familiar with. Even if the dog appears to be friendly, there is a chance it will bite. If a dog walks up to you, try to remain motionless. Running from the dog might encourage it to chase you, which could lead to a serious incident.

When you are bitten by a dog, don’t take the injury lightly. Be sure that you wash the wound if it isn’t too severe. If you see signs of infection, such as red skin or discharge, or if you can’t get the bleeding to stop, go see a doctor.

Another concern that you have is rabies. Unless you are provided proof that the dog is up-to-date on their rabies vaccination, you need be evaluated for the possibility of having been exposed. If the owner claims that the dog is up to date, ask for information, including the vet’s name who administered the vaccine, the rabies vaccine license number and any other information they can provide. You also need to report the bite to local animal control officials, even if you know the dog didn’t have rabies.

If you are bitten by a dog, there is a chance you will need medical care. In fact, almost one out of five people who have a dog bite wound will need to do this. Ultimately, you might decide to seek compensation for the incident. This allows you to turn to the dog’s owner to pay for your medical bills and other expenses that are related to the bite.