We live in a society that harbors a great many pet pooches. The dog ownership trend is only increasing, and the number of dog bites is increasing as well. In 2013, the number of claims against owners for dog bites increased six percent.


When a pup gets out of line, a dog bite claim can cost an owner over hundreds or thousands of dollars. Insurance companies are taking note, charging higher premiums for certain breeds, or requiring owners to take certain measures to teach their pets proper manners. But in the end, prevention is the key. So how can you avoid dog bites in this dog-eat-dog world? Let’s take a look at ways the reasonable person can keep themselves safe and avoid getting bitten.


Be considerate. Dogs don’t like their personal space invaded any more than people do. So make sure that you’re being considerate to every animal you encounter. Never approach a dog you don’t know personally, especially if that dog cannot avoid your advances (i.e., they are tied up or cornered). Let the dog decide whether to approach you or not.


Don’t get in the way. Dogs can be very protective. They may be protective of their food, their puppies, their toys, or their owners. So if you find yourself in between an unfamiliar dog and an item (or person) that is theirs, quickly get out of their way.


Pay attention. Dogs don’t speak English; therefore you must learn to read their body language. Watch for these signs and back away if you see a dog exhibiting any of the following:


  • Yawning
  • Staring intensely
  • Stiff posture
  • Ears pulled back
  • Backing away
  • Growling or snarling


What to Do in the Event of a Dog Attack

If you think a dog may be ready to attack you, stay still and do not run. Slowly back away and avoid eye contact. If the dog does attack, try to put something other than yourself in its mouth (a bag or a jacket). If you are knocked down, assume a defensive posture, curl into a ball, and protect your head.


After the attack, immediately wash your wounds and seek medical care. Report the bite and all the information you can recall to your local animal control agency. This includes the animal’s breed, the circumstances, any owner information, and the time and location of the attack. If you believe you are entitled to monetary compensation for injuries you experienced from a dog attack, don’t hesitate to call the Law Offices of Philip M. Cohen, and speak to our personal injury team.


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