Dog bites are a common injury, especially in the spring and summer months when it is nice outside. Children are especially susceptible to dog bites and should be under careful supervision when around dogs even if the dog is familiar with the child.
Dog owners need to be responsible and prevent their dogs from attacking another person. Understanding the dog’s body language can help you avoid a bite. The ASPCA recommends watching for these signs that a dog may be feeling threatened and aggressive:
- Aggressive dogs try to look bigger by raising the hair on the back or putting the tail straight up. You should not approach dogs that are baring their teeth.
- A scared dog is dangerous, too. The dog may crouch down, lower its head or flatten its ears to appear smaller. If you continue approaching, the dog may think it has no other choice than to bite.
- If a loose dog approaches you, do not run away or scream. Do not make eye contact with the dog. Stand very still until the dog loses interest.
- Err on the side of caution when dealing with unfamiliar animals. Ask before petting any dog and approach the animal slowly.
- Supervise your children around dogs. The vast majority of dog bites to children are from a dog known to the child.
Dog bites accidents can still occur, even when you take all precautions. Dogs can be unpredictable. If you or your child suffer an injury from a dog that doesn’t belong to you, you might have a case against the owner. Sometimes, the homeowner’s insurance policy will cover your injuries. If the dog’s owner asserts that the injuries were due to your actions, the case might be much more complex. You will want to speak to a personal injury attorney to determine whether you have a viable case.