Dogs are a man’s best friend, so they say. While the majority of dogs are friendly and harmless, any canine – regardless of breed, size, age, or gender – is capable of biting if provoked. Read below to learn more about dog bites and what you can do to prevent them…
Dog Bites by the Numbers
Just how much of a problem are dog bites? Check out these facts and figures from the American Veterinary Medical Association:
- 36.5% of American homes have at least one dog.
- Each year, approximately 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs.
- Almost one in five dog bites (800,000 per year) require medical attention.
- Children are the most common victims of dog bites, accounting for nearly half of all incidents.
- Dog bites account for one-third of all homeowners’ liability insurance claims, costing nearly $570 million.
- The average payment by insurers for dog bite claims is over $37,000.
Why Do Dogs Bite?
Dogs can bite for several reasons, including:
- Fear. It is important to be conscious of your actions and how they affect nearby dogs.
- Protection. They could see you as a threat to their owner, puppies, or even their favorite toy.
- Sickness. When dogs are sick or in pain, they may become overly aggressive.
- Redirected Aggression. Don’t put yourself in harm’s way by interacting with a pup who is already riled up. A classic example of this is attempting to break up a dog fight.
- Poor Training. It’s possible that a dog may simply bite because it is poorly trained.
How to Prevent Dog Bites
Nearly all dog bites are preventable. Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind the next time you are around a dog:
- Avoid aggressive games, such as tug of war.
- Keep your distance. Don’t immediately approach a dog you are not familiar with.
- Spay or neuter your dog. Fixed dogs are three times less likely to attack.
- Avoid making eye contact, which can make a dog feel intimidated and scared.
- Don’t disturb dogs that are eating, sleeping, nursing, or playing.
Know the signs that a dog is about to bite. These include a tensed body, stiff tail, pulled back ears, a furrowed brow, and exposed teeth.
What to Do If You Are Bitten By a Dog
It is important to take proper care of your dog bite so that it does not become infected. If you are bitten by a dog, follow these steps:
- Immediately wash the wound thoroughly with soap and warm water.
- Gently dry the wound with a clean towel and apply a bandage.
- Report the bite to your local animal control agency.
- If the injury is serious, contact your physician for additional care.
- If your wound is severe enough to warrant medical attention, consider contacting a personal injury lawyer to recover compensation for your damages.
If you have been the victim of a dog attack in North Carolina or South Carolina, the personal injury attorneys at Stewart Law Offices are ready to represent you. Contact us online to get started with a free case evaluation, or call (866) 783-9278.