What Should You Do If Your Dog Bit Someone?

What Should You Do If Your Dog Bit Someone?

Author WDF Staff


A dog owner's worst nightmare is seeing their dog bite someone. Everyone involved is under a lot of pressure, and the repercussions might be severe.

It's not uncommon for dogs to bite because they're afraid or have been taught to do so by their owners. It doesn't matter what the context of the bite is; you have to be careful.

SAFETY TIP: This article will only provide general information. The circumstances underlying each bite are unique. Following a dog bite event, always seek the advice of a lawyer in your state to protect yourself and your pet.

Your dog bit someone; now what?

The severity of a bite, your relationship with the person bitten, and even the breed of your dog all factor in the outcome.

A heartfelt apology and first aid may be enough if the victim is someone you know, a family member, or a close friend and the bite is minimal.

RELATED: Food Aggression - 5 Tips For Dealing With It

There may be legal repercussions if the incident was severe and the victim requires medical treatment, or if your dog is large or considered "dangerous."

barking dog

Similar rules apply to canines that have previously attacked people. Owners may face criminal penalties in those situations.

Follow the tips listed below to assess the situation and protect yourself and your dog as much as possible.

Keep your cool

The most important thing to keep in mind is to remain composed. You must avoid arguing with the victim because it could lead to another bite. Both the victim and your dog will benefit from this. The victim will have to decide whether or not they want to hire a lawyer and sue you for damages. The victim may choose to be kind in return and not get a lawyer, politeness is always the best course of action.

Assess the bite

You and the victim will need to assess the bite's severity after your dog has been contained. When it comes to determining the severity of dog bites, the Dog Bite Scale comes in handy.

RELATED: What Are the Most Aggressive Dog Breeds?

Level 1: Mouthy, unpleasant, or aggressive conduct without teeth-to-skin contact. Examples of this level are a dog jumping up, pawing or punching at clothing, or nibbling or yanking at it.

Level 2: This level is described as teet-to-skin contact, but the skin remains whole. This includes scrapes, which may entail "slight bleeding that happened by the movement of teeth on skin."

Level 3: 1 - 4 shallow punctures created by a single dog bite. The puncture cannot be deeper than half of the dog's canines. The victim's injury may have been scrapped or slashed when they were attempting to remove it.

level 3 bite on hand

Level 4: A single bite generates one to four deep punctures, each longer than half of the dog's canines. Grabbing and shaking of the dog's head might cause bruising and lacerations.

Level 5: Level 5 consists of at least 2 Level 4 bites, or in the case of a multi-victim attack, at least 1 Level 4 bite per bitten victim.

Level 6: The victim was killed by the dog.

Medical help

The victim should be taken to the hospital. Remember to keep an eye on them and get them to the hospital right away if they seem to be in distress. The bite mark needs to be examined and treated immediately. Offering to pay for the victim's medical expenses is a courteous and considerate way to respond. They had nothing to do with it, and remember: don't get attorneys involved if you don't have to.

RELATED: Is There a Thing as an Aggressive Dog

Exchange contact information

The victim should have your phone number and email address. There are several places where this is a must. The victim must know who you are and where you live. The victim and any witnesses should also be contacted as part of this process.

Consult a lawyer

Victims who are uncooperative or have been bitten severely are likely to sue.

Preparation is the best approach to defend your dog and yourself from the possible repercussions. Consult with a lawyer as soon as possible. Even if nothing happens, your lawyer will hold all the vital information they need to assist you if you need them.

Get in touch with your insurance company

If your dog attacks someone while on your property, you should immediately contact the insurance company to report the occurrence.

Most insurance policies typically cover medical expenditures for injuries that occur on your property.

Will my dog be euthanized if they bite someone?

Because there is no federal legislation that regulates dog bites' consequences, they will be different in different states and even in different cities.

Even if your pet bites someone, they will not necessarily be put down because of it. The bite's context and severity play a significant role in determining repercussions.


It is more likely that your dog will be euthanized if the incident was severe and the victim was uncooperative.

Some "dangerous" breeds, such as Rottweilers, Pit Bulls, or Dogo Argentino, may have statutes specifically addressing dog bites.

You can expect your lawyer to be able to tell you how likely it is that the court will order euthanization and what to do to prevent that from happening.

What the law says about dog bites?

Depending on your residence, dog-bite regulations can be vastly different. Researching the legislation in your area will help you know what to expect. In the majority of dog bite incidents, you will have to do the following:

You'll have to provide documentation of your dog's previous rabies vaccinations.

Quarantine may be in order. If your dog hasn't had their rabies shot in a while, expect the quarantine to be longer.

RELATED: The 15 Most Dangerous Dog Breeds

"Dangerous dog" designation can be given to dogs based on their behavior and past incidents. You may be required to follow specific laws regarding your dog's handling.

If your dog is deemed "dangerous," if the harm is severe, or if a fatality occurs, the law may demand that your dog be euthanized. It's also possible that you'll be held legally accountable and face criminal penalties.

World Dog Finder team

World Dog Finder Logo