April 7 to 13 is Dog Bite Prevention Week and focuses on educating people about preventing dog bites. In 2017, approximately 350,000 people were treated at hospital emergency rooms for non-fatal dog bites and injuries. Insurers paid more than $675 million in claims in 2018. This week seeks to provide education and preventative tips to reduce the number of dog bites.
The West Palm Beach dog bite injury lawyers at Gordon & Partners have prepared the information below to keep you and your children safe. Contact us if you need any help with a dog bite injury claim.
Why Do Dogs Bite?
While a dog of any gender, age or size can bite, there are certain reasons that make it more common for dogs to bite. Some of these reasons include:
- The dog is sick
- The dog is reacting to something around it
- The dog is territorial and trying to protect its property or owner
- The dog is scared or startled
- The dog plays aggressively
- The dog has not been socialized
Being aware of these common reasons why dogs bite can help you and your children educate yourselves and potentially prevent dog bites.
Warning Signs that a Dog Might Bite
Look for the following physical signs that a dog might bite:
- Avoiding eye contact
- The whites of the eyes are visible
- Showing teeth
- Rigid body
- Fur standing up
How to Avoid a Dog Bite
There are several ways that dog owners, adults and children can avoid dog bites:
Tips for Dog Owners
Dog owners must stay extra vigilant when they are around others with their dog. They should carefully monitor the dog and be alert to any changes in the dog’s personality or appearance.
Tips for Adults
Parents and children can take steps to minimize the chance of a dog bite occurring, including:
- Ask for permission – If you do not know the dog, ask the owner’s permission before approaching or petting the dog.
- Give the dog a chance to get to know you – Once you have permission, let the dog sniff your closed hand to get to know you.
- Pet the dog cautiously – When you pet the dog, first pet the dog’s shoulders or chest. Avoid petting the top of the dog’s head.
- Stay still – If an aggressive dog approaches you, stay quite and still. Try to avoid running or making loud noises.
- Avoid aggressive dogs – Do not approach dogs that are barking, growling or loose.
- Stand in a safe position – Avoid facing the dog since this can be seen as aggressive to a dog. Instead, stand with the side of your body facing the dog.
Tips for Children
Since children are often the most common victims of dog bites, it is important that you teach them the following information to prevent them from being attacked by a dog:
- Warn children not to pet a dog in certain situations. Children should know not to approach a dog who is sleeping, eating or caring for her puppies.
- Tell children to let you or another adult know if an unfamiliar dog is around.
- Do not let your children play with a dog unsupervised.
- Tell your children to play nicely with the dog and not to pull its tail.
What to Do After a Dog Bite
It is important to know how to respond after a dog bite. If the dog knocks you over, curl into a ball and tuck your head in your hands to protect yourself. Place an object between you and the dog, such as a purse or jacket. For minor injuries, wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water to try and prevent an infection. Apply antibiotic and cover the wound with a clean bandage. See a health care provider if the wound becomes red, swollen or painful as it could be infected or you develop a fever.
If the wound breaks the skin and causes a more serious injury, get medical assistance immediately. Report the bite to your local animal control authority so that an official report can be taken. This can also help you discover who the dog’s owner is and whether or not the dog has recently been vaccinated against rabies.
Contact a Skilled personal injury attorney Today
If you were injured by a dog, contact a skilled personal injury attorney in West Palm Beach today. We can discuss your claim and inform you of your legal options during a free consultation.
There are no upfront fees and payment is only due if we recover compensation for you.