National Dog Bite Prevention Week: What You Should Know About Preventing Dog Bites

April 4, 2019

Every year, more than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs the United States, and more than 800,000 receive medical attention for dog bites, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). At least half of those individuals bitten by dogs are children. The majority of these dog bites are preventable.

National Dog Bite Prevention Week takes place during the second full week of April each year, bringing attention to dog bites and education on how to avoid them.

Why Do Dogs Bite?

Dogs will bite humans for a number of reasons. In most cases, dogs are reacting to a stressful situation or biting to defend their territory. Dogs may also bite when they feel scared, or are startled by sudden movement. In other situations, a dog may bite when they feel threatened. Even domesticated and socialized dogs may bite, especially when in new surroundings or if they are not feeling well.

How Can I Avoid Dog Bites?

1. Socialize Your Dog

Socializing your dog is the best way to avoid a situation in which your dog bites another human. By introducing your dog to other people at a young age, your dog will feel more comfortsable and at ease meeting new people in unfamiliar situations.

2. Avoid These Risky Dog Bite Situations

Being able to identify situations in which the risk of a dog bite may occur is another way to avoid a dog bite. Even if you are familiar with a dog, it is best to avoid petting them in these situations:

  • If the dog is not with its owner
  • If the dog is on the other side of a fence, you should never reach through or over a fence to pet a dog
  • When a dog is eating or sleeping
  • When a dog is injured, sick or not feeling well
  • When a dog is playing with a toy, bone or another dog
  • If a dog is growling or barking
  • When a dog appears to be hiding or seeking time alone

3. Reading A Dog’s Body Language

Similar to humans, dogs use body gestures and vocalizations to communicate. It is impossible to read a dog’s mind, but we can take cues from their body language to discern whether they are feeling stressed, anxious or frightened. You should avoid petting dogs that exhibit behavior indicated that they feel uncomfortable.

What Should I Do If I Have Been Bitten By A Dog?

If you have been bitten by someone else’s dog, you should seek medical treatment immediately. In 2017 alone, 350,000 people were treated at hospital emergency rooms for non-fatal dog bite related injuries. By seeking medical help, you can get a proper diagnosis and the treatment you need to make a physical recovery.

In some situations, you may also be entitled to compensation for your injuries in the form of compensatory damages. These types of damages are intended to compensate you for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other types of loss.

If you have been injured by a dog bite, our team may be able to help you seek compensation for your injuries. Call our office today to speak with a San Diego dog bite attorney for a no obligation, free consultation.

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