How to Prevent a Dog Bite Injury     

Posted On August 1, 2023 Firm News by John Allen Phebus

Every year, thousands of people end up in emergency rooms with serious injuries from violent dog attacks. Dog bite injuries can include lacerations, puncture wounds, broken bones and disfiguring scars. It is always better to prevent a dog bite injury than to try to recover from one after the fact. Follow these safety tips to decrease your risk of getting bitten by a dog in Surprise.

Don’t Walk Alone

According to statistics, in most fatal dog bite incidents, the victim was alone at the time of the attack. Before you walk around your neighborhood, ask a friend or family member to go with you in case of stray dogs or a pack of dogs running at large. Walking with someone can decrease your chances of being fatally wounded in a dog attack. Young children and the elderly should especially be careful not to walk alone.

Never Reach Out to an Unfamiliar Dog

If you encounter a dog that you are unfamiliar with, do not attempt to touch or pet the animal. Ask the dog’s owner for permission first before reaching your hand toward the dog. Do not approach a dog that is loose, tied up or behind a fence. If a dog does not appear to have an owner with it and you wish to help, keep a safe distance from the stray and call your local animal control office for trained professionals to collect the dog. Do not attempt to touch or capture the dog yourself.

Respect a Dog’s Space

Many serious and fatal dog attacks involve a family dog. Even dogs that have been around the victim their whole lives can be dangerous in certain situations. Dogs are often triggered by food and water bowls, treats, toys, puppies (if they are nursing), and their sleeping areas. Do not attempt to interact with a dog that is eating, playing with a toy, nursing or sleeping. The dog may become startled or feel threatened and attack.

Keep Small Children Safe

Teach small children to be careful around dogs and to play gently with them, whether they know the dog or not. Tell them never to pull a dog’s tail, hit or pinch a dog, or tease a dog. Small children should never be left unattended with dogs, even if they are family pets. Monitoring children around dogs is important for the child’s safety.

Recognize the Warning Signs

Dogs often give warning signs prior to striking out and biting. These signs can include nervous or aggressive body language, such as tension in the dog’s body, a stiff tail, flicking of the tongue, showing of the teeth, snarling or backing away. If you notice any of these signs, avoid the dog, as it is letting you know that it feels uncomfortable or threatened and may attack. If a dog appears injured, it is also important to stay away and call for help from animal control.

React Correctly to a Dangerous Situation

If you believe that a dog is about to attack or bite you, do not scream or run away. Remain where you are and stay quiet to discourage the dog from chasing or biting you. Do not turn your back on a dog that you believe might attack. Instead, stand your ground and keep your hands by your sides. Stay motionless and do not make eye contact with the dog. Once the dog loses interest, back away slowly until the dog is out of sight.

If a dog attacks you, try to put something between you and the animal, such as a jacket or bag. If one or multiple dogs knock you to the ground, curl your body into a ball and cover your ears with your hands. Remain as quiet and motionless as possible. Once the attack ceases, call for help immediately. Seek professional medical treatment for your injuries, as they may be prone to infection. Then, report the attack to animal control and contact a dog bite injury lawyer to discuss your legal rights.