Trouble is, in the wake of a dog fight, establishing blame can be tricky. Murkier still is the extent of a dog's injuries - which makes it even more vital to exchange that information.
"The thing that I tell people up front all the time is that the degree of injury you see on the surface with your own two eyes is often not the full story," Ladan Mohammad-Zadeh, critical care specialist at DoveLewis Animal Hospital in Portland, Oregon, told The Dodo.
Imagine, if you will, a big hairy dog. Your big, beautiful, hairy dog.
"You might see just one little puncture on the side of their face," Mohammad-Zadeh explains. "But you have no idea what's underneath all of that fur - and what's inside that puncture wound."