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Three Ways to Prevent a Dog Bite

Goldstein Heslop Steele Clapper Oswalt & Smith Dec. 10, 2021

“Man’s best friend” doesn’t always live up to their billing. Every year more than four million dog bites occur in the United States, and about 20% of them become infected, resulting in serious medical complications and extensive treatment. Many bites also lead to potentially lifelong psychological damage, which could be devastating for young children in particular.

This makes prevention of dog bites a top priority for both pet owners and those who come into dogs, particularly unfamiliar dogs. On this blog, we explore four ways in which you can prevent a dog bite injury.

Respect a Dog’s Space

People tend to get uneasy and sometimes even quite aggressive if someone they don’t know enters their personal space. So it stands to reason a dog does as well. Whenever you are approaching or are being approached by an unfamiliar dog, always be sure to give them plenty of space. This is particularly true when they are sleeping, eating, chewing on a toy, or caring for puppies. Dogs become territorial quickly, and any perceived attempt to take away something they deem as theirs can be seen as aggression.

Recognize the Body Language

Dogs give off a number of signals and indicators as to their emotional state, and recognizing some of the tell-tale signs of aggression could be the difference between being attacked and avoiding an incident. Signs can include a tensed body, stiff tail, intense stares, barring of teeth, growling, and plenty of others. If you come into contact with a dog that is demonstrating any of these signs, move away from them slowly without turning your back, as for many dogs their first instinct is to chase.

Monitor Your Children Closely

Kids are the most common victim of dog bites. Many children don’t know or are unable to recognize the signs of a dog that is nervous or aggressive, and as a result are attacked by overstepping the dog’s tolerance. From a very young age, always teach your children to never pet a strange dog without owner permission. If a dog threatens them, teach them to stand very still until the dog loses interest. If they get knocked over, they should immediately curl up in a ball and protect their ears and neck with their arms.

If you or a loved one has been bit and seriously injured by a dog, seek medical attention immediately and then call an Altoona injury lawyer. At Goldstein, Heslop, Steele, Clapper, Oswalt & Smith, we have strived to help clients with their legal needs through exceptional client service and detailed legal knowledge since our firm was established more than 100 years ago. We understand the importance of having peace of mind after a dog bite injury, which is why we fight diligently to preserve your best interests.