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Dog Bite Prevention Tips

Dog bite prevention tips

Preventing Dog Bites Resources

Preventing Dog Bites

Every year there is the National Dog Bite Prevention campaign to help bring awareness to preventing dog bites. The hashtag #PreventDogBites trends and garners much attention on social media, especially from dog trainers, AVMA, and veterinarians. Companies like State Farm and other homeowner insurance carriers also support the cause of educating dog owners.

In the USAdog bites account for an average of 337k emergency visits per year, according to a case study from the National Institute of Health.

In the study, the research found the following:

  • 🐶 Puppy classes are associated with the behavior of dogs in adulthood.
  • 🏋️‍♀️ Training methods, owner behavior consistency, and engagement in activities can influence the behavior of smaller and larger dogs.
  • 🏙️ Inadequate socialization, inactivity, and urban living environments are associated with social fearfulness in pet dogs.
  • 🐕 The location and operation of off-leash dog parks have public health considerations.
  • 🐾 Small animal veterinarians perceive stricter leash laws as a method to improve public safety compared to muzzling specific dog breeds in public.

A forensic dog bite study found that over 1 million dog bites occur annually in the USA. However, fatal dog bites are rare and mainly affect children under four and older adults.

There is no such thing as a dog that is “safe.” This includes your family dog or the dog that belongs to a friend or family member. In certain circumstances, any animal can be unpredictable.  Statistics show that most dog attacks resulting from injuries involve family pets or known dogs owned by friends or acquaintances.

Any time you or a loved one is around dogs, it is critical that you practice safety. There are many typical dog behavior issues, including aggression, which is the number one complaint from most veterinarians and trainers.

According to German Shepards and Chow Chows are the most common breeds to bite.

Remember: All dogs can bite, no matter what size or breed. The following is a list of helpful tips to help prevent dog bites.

  • Never approach an unfamiliar dog, even if it seems harmless and especially if it is sleeping.
  • Never run away from a dog. Don’t yell or scream around a dog.
  • Remain motionless when approached by an unfamiliar dog.
  • If a dog knocks you over, roll into a ball and remain motionless.
  • Never let children play with a dog unsupervised.
  • Immediately report stray dogs or dogs that display unusual behavior to the appropriate organization (Animal Control, Humane Society, etc.).
  • Avoid direct eye contact with a dog since they perceive this as challenging.
  • Never disturb a dog sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.
  • Never pet a dog without letting it see and smell you first. An intelligent way to do this is to hold a fist before the dog’s snout. Let them make the first move.
  • When petting a dog, always start below the chin. Petting the top of the head is seen as a dominating gesture, which may cause dogs to get aggravated.
  • Never try to intervene when a dog fight occurs. Use a hose to spray the dogs or throw a blanket over them to disorient them.
  • Never tease a dog or play rough. Regardless of the breed. Many breeds bite.
  • Be mindful around older dogs; they may be blind, hearing impaired, or sensitive to touch.
  • Never run past a dog. Joggers and bicyclers may trigger the dog’s instinct to chase and attack.
  • Avoid making loud noises. Many dogs have a fear of loud booms and bangs.
  • Avoid dogs that are chained, left in cars, or cornered. They may feel vulnerable, causing them to attack out of fear.
  • If bitten, immediately seek medical attention and file a report with authorities.

Preventing Dog Bites in Kids

Children are curious and love animals, but they’re also very trusting and probably assume a strange dog is just like their pet. It’s important to teach your kids how to avoid a dog attack and what to do if attacked.

1. Always ask permission: Educate your children to approach and pet dogs only with the owner’s consent. Boundaries are established, and the possibility of frightening the dog is decreased.

2. Approach gently and slowly: Teach your kids to approach a dog calmly and slowly so that the dog can see and smell them. A dog may feel intimidated if you make sudden movements or rush at them, increasing the likelihood of them biting.

3. Respect for personal space: Encourage your children to be mindful of a dog’s space, mainly when resting, eating, or caring for young animals. During these times, dogs may develop protective instincts and exhibit violent behavior if startled.

4. No hugs or kisses: Tell your kids to refrain from giving hugs, kissing, or getting too close to a dog’s face. Dogs may see these acts as intrusive or aggressive, which could result in a bite.

5. Use caution near dogs you don’t know: Teach your children to exercise caution towards dogs they don’t know. They should maintain composure, avoid direct eye contact, and back away gently without running if an unfamiliar dog approaches.

6. Be a tree: Dogs lose interest quickly if something is not exciting. If your child encounters an unfamiliar dog, teach them to stand still like a tree and avoid looking the dog in the eyes. Typically the dog will wander off.

Keep in mind that when children and dogs mix, monitoring is essential. Ensure an adult is present and actively overseeing interactions to avoid potential bites. Many attacks on small children happen when there is no adult supervision.  Children screaming or hanging on the dog are at high risk for a bite or attack. Teach your kids boundaries when interacting with any dog.

If your child is attacked, teach them to roll into a ball and protect their head, face and neck. While it’s hard to avoid screaming out of fear, the noise can trigger the dog to attack for longer. 

Dog Owner Safety Tips

As a dog owner, you are responsible for your dog’s behavior. The following is a list of safety tips to help eliminate the chances that your dog will bite others:

  • Always keep your dog up to date on vaccinations to prevent any diseases.
  • Always keep your dog on a leash when outside of your yard.
  • Keep your yard safe and fenced. Remember that electronic fences work only on the dog, not on the people that may try to approach it.
  • Socialize your dog from the moment you bring it home. Unsocialized dogs may be timid and shy. They may bite simply out of fear.
  • Train your dog with basic commands: sit, stay, down, heel, and come. If your dog ever gets out of reach, you want to remain in control of the situation.
  • Train your dog to drop any toys on command. This prevents reaching into or near a dog’s mouth to retrieve the toy.
  • Be cautious when introducing your dog to any new situations. Be attentive and ready to respond if your dog feels uneasy or displays any unusual behavior.
  • Teach your dog non-aggressive games, such as “fetch.” Rough play, such as wrestling or tug-of-war, may teach or encourage a dog to become more aggressive.

Warning Signs of a Dog Attack or Bite

Usually, dogs will not immediately attack. There are warning signs you should recognize when a dog becomes aggravated:

  • Growling, snarling, or aggressive barking.
  • Signs that a dog is fearful or shy include crouching, the dog holding its head low, and the dog putting its tail between its legs. Fearful dogs are just as dangerous as aggressive ones.
  • Avoid dogs with raised fur, erect ears, high tails, or stiff bodies. This is a sign that you should stay away.
  • Stay out of the way of any unnaturally still or unresponsive dogs. Fighting breeds have been bred for their ability to hide their aggression.
  • A dog in pain will bite ANYONE, including its owner.

Why Do Dogs Attack?

Although most dog attacks can be avoided if certain precautions, such as preventing strange animals from approaching you and not playing roughly with a pet’s mouth or tail, are taken, it is essential to understand why they attack to better prevent future incidents from occurring.

Many reasons could contribute to canine aggression, including fearfulness of strangers caused by lack of socialization or contact with unfamiliar environments/people.

Instinctual protective behavior when individuals encroach on their territories, dominance issues created out of frustration due to poor training, and pain-induced lashing out are common reasons dogs attack.

The most common reason a dog bites is fear. A fearful dog is dangerous, and if you spot signs that your dog is insecure and fearful, you should implement immediate training, preferably with a professional with experience dealing with fearful dogs. 

Other reasons include food guarding and being territorial over their toys. Don’t encourage tug of war and roughhousing with your dog unless you are confident they are well-balanced and well-trained. 

An injured or sick dog can often attack because they’re in pain. Dogs can’t tell us they don’t feel good and can lash out if they’re ill or suffering. 

In severe cases where a dog is attacking, you can use a stun gun, baton, or pepper spray to stave off the attack.  None of us like to admit it, but sometimes a dog is uncontrollable and can injure or kill people.

We’ve written hundreds of blogs on lethal dog attacks where people walking down the street or a kid on their bike were mauled to death. If you are out walking, carrying tools is a good idea to help you avoid a dog attack.

What Should You Do If Bitten By a Dog?

  • Start by moving away from the area around the dog since there could be another attack on its way.
  • Survey whether or not break-through skin has resulted in wounds since these possess higher infection risks than others.  Ensure cleaning using soap and water to avoid infection.
  • Apply pressure on the surrounding areas of your wound with a clean cloth or bandage until ceasing bleeding.
  • Contact a medical professional for prompt help if the dog bite is serious enough to require treatment.
  • If it’s not your dog be sure to gather personal information of the owner.
  • Ask to see the dog’s vaccination records to be sure they are up to date.
  • If the injury is serious, contact a dog bite lawyer to consider compensation for your injury and medical costs.
  • You made need a tetanus shot after a dog bite.

What Types of Infections Can a Dog Bite Cause?

When bitten by dogs, there is always a risk of contracting several kinds of infections, including common ones such as Staphylococcus aureus (Staph), Streptococcus pyogenes (Strep),  Pasteurella multocida, & Capnocytophaga canimorsus.

Staph and Streptococcus are bacteria commonly found on skin surfaces, inside humans & animals’ noses/throats leading to inflammation, swelling, pain, and pus formation. In addition, these could cause strep throat/scarlet fever/rheumatic fever.

Meanwhile, Pasteurella infection due to bites causes swelling, redness, and pain that usually starts from the infected spot; unfortunately, more severe complications, e.g., pneumonia/meningitis, are not rare.

Capnocytophaga can also be present in dogs’ mouths, leading to minor symptoms and severe issues such as sepsis, meningitis, or gangrene.

Immediately seeking medical attention after dog bites should be considered vital for thorough wound examination cleaning actions or even antibiotics prescription if necessary. 

Dog Training

As dog owners, it’s our responsibility to train our dogs properly,  especially large breed dogs that can do much more damage when they bite or attack. 

Using dog attack suits

One way to train your dog for your security and to prevent untriggered dog bites is utilizing a dog attack suit or protective gear such as a dog training bite sleeve.

A dog training garment is essential protective equipment for trainers. Durable materials and reinforced cushioning protect against bites and scratches during training sessions. Trainers can confidently engage in controlled interactions with canines while minimizing the risk of injury when wearing a dog training suit. These dog bite suits can mimic real-life scenarios to help your dog understand how to react to different situations and people.

Impulse control

Teaching your dog impulse control, bite control, and how to react only when danger is present will drastically reduce the risk of a dog attack, especially in children. Over 50% of dog attacks are on children.

Don’t encourage nibbling because it can lead to biting and chewing, and enabling that nervous behavior reinforces anxiety. You’ll have less chance of your dog biting someone and causing injury if you teach them to stay calm and control their emotions. Even nibbles and mouthing can pinch and puncture the skin or cause infection.

Desensitizing your dog with strangers or family members

Gradually desensitizing your dog is a great way to reduce harmful and dangerous reactions to specific circumstances. Regularly having your pet around different people, crowds, and noise can help them cope better with chaos. Keeping your dog locked in the house to avoid these situations reinforces their nervousness and fear.

You can take steps to safely and adequately desensitize your dog in public by taking simple precautions like a muzzle and leash. Muzzles are great for having your dog up close and personal with people without the risk of biting or attacking.

If you have aggression issues with friends or family with your dog, work one-on-one to find if anything is triggering the dog. A friend or family member might rub your dog the wrong way, and if you can identify what is triggering the dog, you can work towards better obedience from your dog.

Puppy classes

Enroll your dog in puppy socialization classes or training classes that include socialization components. These classes provide structured environments for dogs to interact with other puppies and people under the guidance of a professional trainer. Starting your puppy early with training classes will help ensure he’s confident and friendly.

Dog Bite Liability in California

California is a no-fault state, which means you are liable in some instances if your dog bites someone, even a trespasser. Dog bite lawsuits cost insurance companies and dog owners hundreds of millions annually in damages and injury care.

Victims of dog bites often undergo long-term care and treatment for soft tissue and nerve damage injuries as well as psychological counseling for fear of dogs that can linger a lifetime and cause extreme anxiety at the mere sight of a dog.

As personal injury attorneys, we, unfortunately, see the dark side of dogs. We’ve handled some horrific attacks, and the victims’ lives are turned upside down and filled with fear, debt, and mental anguish. 

If a dog bite or attack has injured you, please get in touch with an experienced California dog bite attorney at Bisnar Chase. We offer free consultations to answer your questions and determine if you have a case.

If you have been injured, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for your injuries to cover medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, cost of cosmetic surgery, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. Our dog-bite lawyers are experienced trial attorneys with years of expertise in California courts.

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