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Dog bites: Learn what to do if a dog bites you

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Dogs can bite if they feel surprised or threatened, even cute and seemingly friendly dogs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children are more likely to be bitten by dogs, and they’re also more likely to be exposed to rabies.

“Model kindness and boundaries with dogs to teach children of all ages to keep safe around dogs,” explains Lorain County Public Health Commissioner David Covell, RS, MPH. 

Be cautious and kind to dogs to prevent bites – take these steps to avoid confrontation and keep everyone safe:

  • Avoid dogs that are not on a leash and with their owners.
  • Ask the owner before you approach a dog.
  • After asking permission, let a dog see and sniff you before petting it.
  • Keep two eyes on children when they’re playing with pets.
  • If you have a pet, make sure it is up-to-date with the rabies vaccine from a veterinarian.

If someone gets bitten by any animal, make sure to clean and care for the wound. If it’s a serious bite, take the bitten person to the emergency room. According to the CDC, all dog bites include a risk of getting rabies.

“We encourage everyone to take steps to prevent animal bites, and we’re also here to help when they do happen,” reminds Covell.

Call Lorain County Public Health at 440-322-6367 if you experience or witness an animal bite. We check up on all animal bites in the county and act as an unbiased third party in all animal bite incidents. A Lorain County Public Health Registered Sanitarian will:

  1. Check that the animal has an up-to-date rabies vaccination,
  2. Make sure the animal is healthy, and
  3. Report back to you.

If you do need protection from the rabies virus, we can connect you with a vaccine.


Watch a video from the American Veterinary Medical Foundation to learn more about preventing dog bites: