In most cases, dogs are sweet and loyal pets, but being attacked and bitten by a dog can be devastating. If you are bitten by one of your neighbor's dogs, you will need to react quickly in order to ensure that everything goes okay. If you are bitten by a dog owned by someone else, take the following steps.

Seek Immediate Medical Treatment

The most important thing you can do after being attacked by a dog is to see a doctor. Dog bites that break the skin can easily become infected, so it is important to have any bite areas thoroughly cleaned; you may also need to begin taking strong antibiotics to help prevent an infection. 

Contact Animal Control

When you know the owners of the dog that attacked you, it can be hard to report the bite to the authorities. But it is important to contact animal control after a dog attack so the animal can be monitored to see whether he or she might be at risk for being aggressive with other people in the future. Animal control will be able to remove the dog from the scene and quarantine him or her until dog experts can determine whether or not it is safe for the dog to be around humans.

Ensure the Dog Has Been Vaccinated for Rabies

In most states, dogs are required to be regularly vaccinated for rabies, but not all dog owners follow this law. If a neighbor's dog bites you, it is important to find out whether the dog is current on his or her rabies vaccination. If you learn that the dog's rabies vaccination is out of date, you will need to let your doctor know, and you may need to get several shots to protect yourself against rabies.

Hire a Lawyer

After you are bit by a neighbor's dog, it is in your best interest to hire a personal-injury lawyer to represent you. A lot of neighbors have relationships with each other, and that can make people feel uncomfortable about going forward with a lawsuit. Luckily, in most cases of a dog attack, the dog owner's homeowners insurance will pay the claim, and the actual owner of the dog won't be bankrupted by the lawsuit. 

Consider Counseling

Being attacked by a dog can be very traumatic. Even after you are physically healed, you may feel scared, anxious, or uncomfortable when you encounter a dog. You may want to consider counseling to help you deal with the trauma and help reduce anxiety when you're around dogs.