Dog bite prevention: What everyone should know
A dog bite can turn a trip to the park into a trip to the emergency room. It can leave both physical and psychological scars.
As the weather warms up, people spend more time outdoors, especially with their pets. That means that dogs and people, particularly young children, come into contact with each other more frequently. What many people don’t think about is the possibility of a dog bite situation.
In fact, over 4 million dog bites occur each year. And while it might not sound like a serious concern, dog bites or dog attacks can be traumatizing and can result in extremely serious injuries or disfigurement. Children are more likely to be bitten by a dog than any other age group.
Fortunately, there are some ways that dog owners, parents, and everyone else can help prevent a dog bite from happening.
For Dog-Owners: To Prevent Your Dog from Biting Someone
Most dog owners never think that their beloved pet would ever bite another person. But even the most well-adjusted dogs can feel threatened, become agitated, and hurt someone by accident. As a responsible dog owner, there are some things you can do to help prevent this from happening:
First, it is important to properly care for, train, and socialize your dog. A dog that receives proper training, diet, veterinary care, and humane treatment is less likely to become aggressive with other people. Spaying/neutering your dog can also make them less likely to bite. If you don’t know how your dog will react in new or stressful situations, be cautious. Don’t wait for an accident.
Pay attention to your dog’s body language and behavior. Dogs will often exhibit physical signs of discomfort before reaching the point of aggression that can become dangerous. Knowing these signs can help you to stop a tense situation from escalating. Watch for:
- Tense body
- Ears pulled back
- Stiff tail
- Intense stare
- Backing away
For Parents: To Protect Your Child from a Dog Bite
Often, accidental bites can be avoided by teaching children how to safely interact with dogs. First, it is important to teach your child never to approach an unfamiliar dog. If a dog is unleashed and unsupervised, consider leaving the area and call animal control to report a loose or stray dog.
If the dog is accompanied by its owner, teach your child to always ask the owner’s permission before petting the dog, even if it is a dog you have met before.
Teach children to respect a dog’s personal space, be gentle, and not to pull a dog’s ears/tail, or approach a dog while it is sleeping or eating. Many dog bites occur simply because the dog was alarmed or taken by surprise.
If your child becomes uncomfortable around a dog, teach them to quietly and confidently walk away, or remain still. Do not run, as this will encourage the dog’s natural instinct to chase.
Avoid allowing young children to play with a dog unsupervised, even if the dog is familiar to you.
For Everyone to Avoid Dog Bites
As a general rule, do not approach an unfamiliar or stray dog. Do not attempt to pet a dog that appears sick or injured, or a dog that is barking or growling.
If you or someone you love has suffered from a dog bite or dog attack, wash the wound, contact animal control, and contact our office to determine the next steps to take. If you were bitten because of the dog owner’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and emotional trauma. Our dog bite lawyers are familiar with the specific dog bite laws, leash laws, and insurance laws in Pennsylvania and have decades of experience representing victims of these traumatic attacks. We can be reached at 855-866-5529.
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