In the United States alone, it’s estimated that 4.5 million dog bite injuries occur each year. Dog attacks can occur by any breed or temperament of the dog, which is why it’s so important to take proactive measures to protect yourself and your loved ones from dog attacks—especially in residential areas.
Protecting Yourself From a Dog Attack
There are many steps you can take to reduce your chances of being attacked or bitten by a dog. For starters, always exercise caution when approaching or passing a dog. Even if it’s on a leash and appears friendly, don’t make any sudden moves to pet or otherwise interact with the dog unless you get permission from its owner. You should especially never approach a dog while it’s sleeping or eating, as many otherwise friendly dogs are protective and aggressive over their food and bed.
Recognizing the Signs
It can also be helpful to understand dog body language. Some signs that could indicate a dog is anxious, aggressive, or otherwise likely to attack include:
- snarling or growing
- baring teeth
- standing tail with stiff movements
In the event that you are confronted by an aggressive dog, the best way to thwart an attack is to stiffen your body and remain as still as possible. Do not try to bolt away from the dog, as this will only encourage it to chase you. Also, keep in mind that dogs can sense fear, so if you’re approached by an unfamiliar dog, try to remain calm as you allow it to sniff you. That may be all it wants to do before moving on.
Another option is to try to distract an aggressive dog with something else. If you can find a nearby stick or another object to throw, this may give you enough time to distract the dog as you carefully move out of danger.
What to Do if You’re Injured in a Dog Attack
Unfortunately, there is always a possibility of being the victim of a dog attack, no matter how careful you are. In the event that you are injured in a dog attack, the first thing you will want to do (aside from seeking medical attention), is to contact your local Animal Control professionals to report the attack. From there, they can work to track down the dog’s owners (if applicable) and possibly press charges against them. Depending on the dog’s status, you may also need to be tested for rabies to be safe.
And of course, if you have incurred medical bills, lost wages as a result of your injuries, or have suffered other trauma, be sure to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer. Our team at Ginnis, Krathen, & Zelnick, P.A. is here to assist you through the often complex and time-consuming legal process. Contact our office to schedule your free case evaluation with us today.