Every year, over 4 million dog bites occur in the US. Almost 20% of all bites become infected and may cause serious damage. This article aims to give some advice on how to avoid being bitten and what to do in the unfortunate circumstance that a bite occurs. If you or someone you know has been bitten by a dog, contact a Stockton personal injury attorney. for advice or your legal actions.
Though people may think of dog bites happening in an unfamiliar outdoor location with an unleashed an unknown dog, more than half of dog bites occur at home with familiar pets. The likelihood of incurring a dog bite increases with the number of dogs in a home. When a home has two or more dogs, adults are five times more likely to be bitten than individuals without any dogs.
Who is at risk?
Anyone has the potential of being a dog bite victim. However, children and men are more likely to incur a dog bite. Children do not know how to act around dogs and don’t have the interpretive skills to understand when a dog is not exhibiting friendly behavior. Children are especially likely to be bitten between the ages of 5 to 9 and worse, are less likely to receive medical attention for a bite than adults, increasing their risk of infection. If your child has been bitten by a dog, it’s crucial you seek medical attention immediately and then call a Stockton personal injury attorney.
Even a well trained dog that spends its days curled up on the couch with its owner has the potential to bite an unsuspecting individual. Dogs typically attack because they feel threatened, so be sure to avoid any behavior that may frighten a dog, especially if the animal seems timid or nervous.
The following list is a good guide in how to interact with dogs:
- Do not disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.
- Be sure to ask a new dog’s owner if you may pet it.
- Do not pet a dog before inviting it to smell the back of your hand.
- Do not approach a dog in a sudden manner.
- Do not make sudden movements or loud noises when interacting with a timid dog.
- Never let a small child play with a dog unattended, especially an unfamiliar dog.
When approached by an unfamiliar dog with whom you do not wish to interact, use the following tactics:
- Stay calm! – Do not make any sudden movements or panic. Dogs can sense emotions such as fear and tension. Do not run away! Dogs are much faster than humans and even if the dog had not intended to attack, a running target enhances their hunting instincts.
- Avoid eye contact with the dog – Maintaining eye contact with dogs is interpreted as a display of dominance. This may provoke the dog.
- Speak deeply and firmly – Tell the dog “no,” or “go home.” If the dog is trained, it may recognize these words and react to commands. Do not shout or make loud noises. This should be an instruction, not an attack.
- Do not stand facing the dog – Directly standing in front of the dog face forward may be interpreted as an act of aggression. Try to keep your body turned as much to the side as possible.
- Slowly make a protective stance – Slowly and subtly, raise your hands to your neck with your elbows in towards your body. Should the dog attack, the neck is the last place you want to be exposed.
- Wait for the dog to move – If you stay still long enough and avoid eye contact, the dog may decide you are not a threat and not worth bothering.
- Curl into a ball – In the unfortunate instance that a dog attacks and knocks you over, curl into a ball with your head tucked in and your hands over your ears and neck.
Even if you do all of the steps above, dogs can still attack you. If that’s the case, reach out to a Stockton personal injury attorney to seek compensation for any pain and suffering you experienced.
What should I do if bitten?
Dogs have many different types of bacteria in their mouths that may cause serious infections. Dogs may also have rabies, which can be deadly. When bitten, follow these steps:
- Wash the wound with soap and water.
- Apply antibiotics and bandage with clean dressings.
- Contact the owner to see if the dog is up to date on its rabies shots. It is not always easy to tell when a pet has rabies. If the dog is not up to date, see a medical professional as soon as possible and let them know you may have been exposed to rabies.
- Seek a medical professional if: the wound is deep, you haven’t had a tetanus shot in 5 years, the dog is unfamiliar to you and the skin was broken, your wound seems infected, such as if it is swollen, red, warm, or painful long after being bitten, or you develop a fever
Dogs have always been a “man’s best friend” but unfortunately, can be extremely dangerous for a variety of reasons. Their breed, natural tendencies and environments are only some factors affecting why a dog would attack or not. Regardless, it’s important to take the best steps you can to prevent a dog attack and contact a Stockton law firm who can fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
Speak to a Stockton Personal Injury Attorney if You’ve Been Attacked by a Dog
At Sadiq Law Firm, P.C., our lawyers speak the language of court and insurance companies. We understand what it takes to successfully bring a claim to settlement and get victims the compensation they deserve. If you have been injured because of a dog attack, give us a call at (209) 943-0000 to speak to a Stockton personal injury attorney today.