For thousands of years, dogs have assumed the role of “man’s
best friend,” and they continue to do so admirably and loyally.
However, despite the fact that we care for our dogs, love them, treat
them like family, and they do the same for us in their own ways, the relationship
isn’t always perfect. At their core, even the most docile dog is
still an animal, which means they could bite someone and cause an injury.
Dog bites can be extremely dangerous, as even small dogs have sharp teeth
and powerful jaws that can inflict serious damage. Therefore, it’s
important to prevent dog bites however possible. Here are some tips for
avoiding dog bites for both owners and those who encounter a dog.
Tips for Dog Owners
Homeowners are often unaware that they are responsible for their dog’s
actions, and could be held liable if their seemingly friendly dog suddenly
decides to attack a visitor. Therefore, it’s important to do everything
you can to prevent a dog from possibly biting someone who visits.
- If you know your dog is prone to attacking visitors or strangers it isn’t
familiar with, make sure it is secured at all times, especially when you
aren’t home. A dog attacking the mail man or a service technician
who comes to your home is grounds for a suit against you. Make sure all
fences are secure, holes can’t be dug underneath, and that there
is no way to escape.
- Dogs are extremely territorial animals, and even the friendliest and most
kind-hearted dogs can become angered or stressed when someone unfamiliar
enters their territory. This can cause them to become defensive and start
showing signs of aggression. Training dogs to be non-aggressive about
territory can go a long way towards preventing this problem.
- Make sure visitors are aware of a dog’s presence before coming onto
your property. Even if your dog is friendly to everyone, someone who doesn’t
know a dog is present may intrude on its territory, causing it to become
- Dogs become scared or angered when they are near constant sources of loud
noise, especially when that source is outside. If there is work being
done on or near your home, make sure your dog is kept in a quiet and comfortable
place to keep their aggression to a minimum.
Tips for Encountering a Dog
Meeting a new dog while on your nightly walk through your neighborhood
may be a bright spot on your day, but that bright spot can quickly turn
dark if the dog decides to attack. This means you should approach meeting
a new dog with caution and recognize when that friendly-looking dog might
be anything but.
- Children are one of the most vulnerable populations when it comes to dogs,
particularly between the ages of 5-9. Because children often have softer,
more delicate skin and are smaller, they also more frequently need to
receive medical attention for dog bites. Be sure to teach your children
to approach new dogs with caution, and always supervise children playing
- Know the signs of dog aggression: arched back, teeth bared, slumped posture,
and growling are usually signs that a dog feels threatened and may be
on the verge of attacking.
- If a dog approaches you showing signs of aggression, remain motionless,
as many dogs instinctually attack when they see motion. If a dog knocks
you over, curl into a ball with your hands covering your ears and neck.
- DO NOT run from a dog, make loud noises to try to scare it off, or attempt
to pet a dog without allowing it to smell you first. In fact, it’s
not really a good idea to approach an unfamiliar dog. Let it approach
you and initiate contact in order to earn its trust before extending a
hand to pet it.
- Dogs can sense fear someone, and dogs who sense fear are less likely to
listen. If you are approached by a strange dog, use a firm, clear voice
to tell it “no” or “go home.” Dogs are much more
likely to listen to someone who is confident and exhibits dominant behavior
If you are attacked by a dog, immediately tend to your wounds by washing
them thoroughly with soap and water. If you experience severe bleeding,
loss of function, extreme pain, or muscle or bone exposure, you should
not hesitate to seek medical attention right away. If the wound becomes
red, painful, swells up, or you experience a fever within a few days of
the accident, seek medical attention immediately as well.
Finally, if you’re not sure whether or not a dog has been vaccinated
against rabies, you should seek medical attention and contact your local
animal control service. Rabies is a serious disease that can lead to dangerous
symptoms in humans. Get the contact information for a dog’s owner
and ask whether they are vaccinated, including for the administering veterinarian’s
information, and the date of the vaccination.
Have you or a loved one been injured by a dog bite? Call Mainetti, Mainetti
& O’Connor today and request a free case evaluation! Dial 845-340-4878 or
contact us online to get started.