Approximately 4.5 million people are victims of dog bite attacks every year, and about one out of every five is serious enough to require medical attention (Dog Bite Law). Any dog can hurt someone, regardless of how gentle, old, or small it may be. Even seemingly docile dogs will bite when they are frightened or when they're trying to protect someone/something.
If you're a dog owner, you likely know by now that there is no guarantee that your dog will never bite someone. In fact, most people know the owner of the dog that bites them. However, it's important to understand that there are things you can do to reduce the risk of your dog biting someone else. Here are some tips to help prevent dog bites and injuries:
Train and Socialize Your Dog
One of the most important things you can do for your dog is to teach your dog appropriate behavior. Don't teach your dog to chase after or attack others, even if it's only playing. The truth is, dogs often don't understand the difference between play and real-life situations. Always set appropriate behavior for your dog, and if you notice that your dog frequently acts out, be sure to seek help from a professional.
It's also important that you socialize your dog and allow him/her to interact with other people in a variety of different situations. This will help you teach your dog what is acceptable and what isn't, and it will allow him/her to become familiar with being around strangers.
Watch Your Dog Around Children
Young children are more likely than older children and adults to get bit by a dog. Children don't typically understand that animals get tired or feel pain and may unknowingly (and unintentionally) provoke a dog. All children want to do is pet your dog and give him/her hugs. There's no way you can prevent your children from pulling and jumping on your dog, but do your best to watch your dog around children.
Keep Your Dog Away From Stressful Situations
If you don't know how your dog will react to being in a new situation, always be cautious. If you know that your dog often panics in crowds, don't take him/her to a 5k with you. If your dog overreacts to new visitors, try keeping him/her in another room when visitors first come in your home. Try working with a professional to help your dog become accustomed to new or stressful situations. Until you're confident that your dog can behave, do your best to avoid stressful situations.
What to Do If Your Dog Bites Someone
Although you hope that your dog never bites someone, here's what to do if it does happen:
- Immediately check on the victim's condition, and if necessary, seek medical help
- Provide the victim with important information such as the date of your dog's last rabies vaccination
- Always cooperate with the animal control officer. If your dog needs to be quarantined, strictly follow the requirements for your dog
- Seek professional help by consulting with your veterinarian about working with an animal behaviorist or dog trainer.
If you or a loved one has been injured after being bit by a dog – don't delay. Contact the Dellutri Law Group today for a free, no-obligation consultation. Call us at (800) 391-4337. Plus, you can click here to request a free consultation. Our team of dedicated attorneys and staff are here to help!