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What to do in case of dog bites

Anyone in Iowa who has been bitten by a dog knows from experience that dogs are not always man's best friend. In fact, 4.7 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year, with one out of every five requiring medical attention afterwards. In the majority of cases, the victims are bitten by dogs they know, such as a neighbor's dog or even their own pet.

Experts give several tips on how to avoid dog bites. Since children are bitten more often than adults, parents should never leave their youngsters alone with a dog. Always approach a dog slowly so that it has a chance to approach first. If a dog becomes aggressive, make no sudden movements but slowly back away without making eye contact with it.

When a dog bites, the victim should stop the bleeding with a clean towel, wash the wound with soap, and apply an antibiotic and a bandage. If a bite is deep, doesn't stop bleeding, or shows signs of infection, the victim should see a doctor. A doctor will see whether the victim has a medical condition that might increase the risk for infection, such as diabetes or liver disease. To close deep bite wounds, a doctor will most likely use sutures, which reduce scarring but leave open the possibility for infection. The victim may also require a tetanus shot.

Unlike many other states, where a pet owner is required to have knowledge of a dog's dangerous propensity in order to be held liable to the victim of an attack, Iowa imposes strict liability on owners regardless of any prior knowledge. People who have been harmed by another person's dog might want to have the help of an attorney when seeking compensation for their medical bills and other losses.

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