While dogs can make great companions, they can also attack people, causing serious injuries or death. Learn tips to help you and your children avoid a dog bite.

Steps You Can Take to Keep Your Family and You Safe From a Dog Bite

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preventing dog bitesDogs can be close companions or a beloved family member, and many are gentle and loving. However, dogs can also be dangerous and can attack not only strangers, but also their owners and others in the household. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 4.5 million dog bites occur annually in the United States. Many of these bites will become infected, leading to serious illnesses and fatalities. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to keep yourself and your family safe from a dog attack.

Follow These Tips to Avoid Being Attacked by a Dog

Children between the ages of 5 and 9 years old face the greatest danger of being bitten by a dog. Surprisingly, more than half of dog bites occur at homes with dogs familiar to the victims. By taking these steps, you can reduce the chances that you or your children will be the victim of a dog attack:

  • Ask before you touch. Some dogs are not open to strangers touching them. Before you or your children approach a strange dog, always ask his owner if it is okay to pet him. 
  • Approach slowly. Dogs can become aggressive when startled. When you approach, make sure you get the dog’s attention well before you are within biting range and move slowly toward him.
  • Offer your hand. Before petting a dog, you want to present the back of your hand to the dog to smell. Then look for positive signs that the dog is willing to be touched.
  • Watch for the warning signs. You should watch a dog’s body language because this can be a sign that he is uncomfortable or may attack. A stiff tail, tense body, pulled-back ears, intense stare, or backing away are a few warning signals that the dog could bite. 
  • Do not disturb. When a dog is sleeping, eating, caring for her babies, or chewing on a toy, you should not disturb her. She is more likely to bite you if you bother her in these situations.
  • Do not leave children unattended. You should not leave young children alone with a dog. Even if you know the dog, do not assume that he is safe. In addition, children may not realize how to treat a dog or to respect his boundaries and could inadvertently provoke a dog into attacking them.

What Should You Do If You Believe a Dog Will Attack?

If you see a dog approaching that you fear will attack, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of a bite. These include the following:

  • Remain motionless and avoid making loud noises.
  • Keep your gaze down and avoid eye contact with the dog.
  • Turn your body slowly slightly to the side because this may appear less threatening to the dog.
  • If a dog knocks you down, curl into a ball, keep your head tucked in, and place your hands over your neck and ears.
  • As soon as the dog loses interest in you, slowly retreat from him.

While practicing these tips can keep you and your family a little safer, you could still be attacked by a dog if an owner does not take steps to protect people from him or mistreats him. If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a dog bite, you may be entitled to compensation from the dog owner under Washington’s dog bite laws. To learn about your legal options and how we can assist you, call our office today to schedule a free case evaluation.

Category: Dog Bites


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