Dogs may be man’s best friend, but that doesn’t mean that it is always safe to interact with an unfamiliar dog—or even a dog you know and love. Children are particularly at risk of dog bite injuries, since they may have a difficult time reading a dog’s body language or understanding when a dog might be dangerous. Here are some tips to help you and your loved ones stay safe and prevent dog bite accidents.
- Always ask the dog’s handler if it is okay to pet the dog before approaching.
- If you are approached by an unfamiliar dog, remain still and quiet. Dogs can interpret body language well and may bite if they feel threatened.
- If a dog knocks you over—even if they are being friendly—protect your face and neck with your arms and hands.
- Instruct your children to alert you if they see a stray dog or a dog that is acting strangely. Discuss normal and abnormal dog behavior with them.
- Never approach an unfamiliar dog, especially if they are alone.
- Don’t run from a dog, since they may chase you or attack.
- If approached by a dog, don’t panic or make loud noises. Shouting, screaming, or yelling may stress the dog and cause them to bite.
- Never disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating, or caring for their puppies. They may be defensive if startled.
- Never allow small children to play with a dog unsupervised. Remain close enough to intervene if needed.
- Practice body language with your children, including how to look non-threatening. This means arms down, making slow movements, turning your body to the side, and avoiding eye contact.
- If there is a dog that seems uneasy or threatened, move away in a slow manner, avoiding eye contact. Place a bag, backpack, jacket, or other object between you and the dog.
- Teach your children how to understand a dog’s body language so they can react appropriately. Dogs use their tails, ears, eyes, hackles, and body position to communicate their feelings. Explain what different signs mean and teach your children what to do when they see a dog that looks upset or happy.
What To Do If Bitten by a Dog
Even the best dogs can still bite. Whether it was an accident or an attack, dog bite wounds should not be taken lightly. They can be dangerous, especially if you don’t know about the dog’s health history. After a dog bit, it’s important to seek medical attention and thoroughly clean wounds. Because dogs can carry rabies, among other diseases, it is important to consult your doctor.
After getting medical care, you should document the accident. Take photos of the victim’s injuries. If possible locate witnesses and the dog’s owner. Gather contact information for these parties in case you choose to file a claim. It is also important to report the bite to your local animal control agency or police department. If the dog is a stray or is unknown, this is especially important since they may be unvaccinated. A report from the local authority can also be helpful in a claim and can help you to learn if this animal or owner has had other attacks occur.
If you wish to file a personal injury claim, it’s important to remember you will need to prove that the accident happened and that the injuries were caused by the dog. It can be helpful to consult an experienced personal injury attorney, so you can receive legal counsel and assistance with your claim.
At Paulsen Law Group, our highly experienced Dunedin personal injury attorneys are prepared to investigate your case and help you pursue the compensation you are entitled to. Schedule a free consultation to discuss your case today.
Contact our firm by calling (727) 270-8260.