Dog Bite Injury

Dog bites can be frightening and leave you feeling hurt and confused. Sadly, many have experienced this dilemma. Studies suggest that every year, tens of millions of dog bite incidents are reported. In the United States alone, 4.5 million injuries are recorded annually. (1)

If a dog bites you, the first thing to do is get medical help. However, it’s also very important to properly document what happened. Having a record of the incident can be really useful for a few key reasons – it can help make sure the dog’s owner is held responsible, and it can also protect you in case any other issues come up later from the bite.

This article will walk you through all the steps for documenting and reporting when a dog bites you. It covers getting medical care, gathering evidence and information, and filing an official report about the incident with the local animal control authorities. Let’s begin.

Why document a dog bite?

You might wonder why documenting a dog bite is so important. Here are a few reasons:

Medical records 

A doctor’s report creates an official record of the bite, its severity, and the treatment you received. This documentation can be crucial if you experience complications later, such as infections or nerve damage.

So, throughout your treatment, keep copies of all medical records and bills related to the dog bite. This includes doctor’s reports, prescriptions, and receipts for any medications or treatments you receive.

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Legal claims 

If you decide to pursue legal action against the dog’s owner, having detailed records of the bite will strengthen your case. From medical reports and witness statements to photos of the injuries, all these help establish the severity of your injuries and the dog’s aggressive behavior.

Looking for a skilled dog bite lawyer in Salt Lake City or others in your area is a recommended first step. A legal professional can advise you on the process and guide you through the complexities of pursuing legal action, should you choose to do so.

Animal control investigation 

Reporting the bite to animal control helps them investigate the incident and take appropriate action. This may involve quarantining the dog, requiring the owner to take obedience training, or even issuing fines.

Seeking medical attention

The very first step after a dog bite is to get medical attention. Don’t wait to see a doctor, even if the bite doesn’t seem too major. For one, dog bites can carry a high risk of infection. Medical professionals can clean the wound, give you antibiotics to take for seven to 14 days, administer a rabies vaccine, and recommend a course of treatment to promote healing. (2)

If not treated right away, there may be risks of fatality. Although there are fewer than 1% of fatalities due to dog bites, it’s best to be on the safer side. (3)

Documenting the scene

As mentioned, documenting the scene of the attack can help establish the incident and the severity of your injuries. If you’re unable to do so safely, see if someone can take pictures of the following:

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Your injuries 

Ask someone to take close-up photos of the bite wound, showing its location, size, and any swelling or bruising.

The location 

Capture photos of the place where the bite happened. This could be a park, a sidewalk, or someone’s yard.

The dog 

If possible, try to get a picture of the dog that bit you. This will help animal control identify the animal.

Dog Bite

Gathering information

If there were any witnesses to the attack, get their names and contact information. Their accounts of what happened can be valuable evidence later.

Reporting the bite

In addition to seeking medical attention, it’s important to report the dog bite to your local animal control agency. They will likely have a specific reporting process, which might involve filing a report online, calling them by phone, or visiting their office in person.  Be prepared to answer questions about the incident, including:

  • The date and time of the bite
  • The location of the bite
  • A description of the dog
  • A description of your injuries

Remember, cooperate fully with animal control to ensure a swift and thorough investigation.

Keeping track of your recovery

As your injuries heal, continue to take pictures of the bite wound to document the healing process. This can be helpful if you experience any scarring or lasting effects from the bite.

Additional tips

Here are other tips to remember:

  • Don’t wash the wound excessively. While cleaning the wound is important, excessive washing can remove trace evidence that might be helpful in an investigation.
  • Keep any damaged clothing or items. Torn clothing or damaged items from the attack can be considered evidence.
  • Be honest with animal control. Providing accurate information about the incident will help them conduct a thorough investigation.
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By following these tips and the outlined steps, you can ensure the proper documentation of your dog bite incident.

Wrapping up

Dog bites can be scary and disruptive, but by following these steps, you can take control of the situation. But remember, your health and well-being are the top priorities. That said, seek medical attention promptly. Then, document everything thoroughly and don’t hesitate to seek legal counsel if necessary.  With proper documentation and action, you can move forward from this experience with ease and confidence.



  1. “Animal bites”, Source:,Dog%20bites,-Scope%20of%20the 
  2. “Dog Bites”, Source:,Dog%20Bite%20Treatments,-Although%20you%20can 
  3. “Dog Attack Statistics By Breed 2024”, Source: 

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