Summertime is upon us and that means a higher likelihood of encountering dogs out for a walk with their owners, or even strays that have unfortunately gotten loose. It’s astounding how many people get bit by dogs every year, but with a bit of caution, many dog bites are avoidable. Learn how you can avoid dog bites this summer, and what your options are if you do get bit by a dog out of its owner’s control.
General Tips for Avoiding Dog Bites
There are a number of general safety tips that everyone should use to avoid dog bites when they encounter an unfamiliar animal. First, never just assume it’s friendly. In fact, it’s safer to always assume the opposite. Never approach a dog that you don’t know and, more importantly, that doesn’t know you. Don’t reach for a dog to pet it unless you allow it to sniff you first. Never disturb the dog while it is chewing on a toy, eating, sleeping or caring for young.
Dog Body Language
Dogs have body language signals that you can read which will tell you if the dog is about to get aggressive. If you notice a dog with a tensed body, stiff tail or furrowed brow, you need to give it space. Likewise, the ears or head in a pulled back or flattened position, eyes that are rolled back, an intense stare, a flicking tongue, or a dog that is backing away or even yawning can indicate a dog that is stressed or possibly becoming aggressive.
What to Do
When you see a dog that looks like it is about to attack, the first thing you need to do is give it space. Freeze in place until it looks away or otherwise diverts its attention. Then back away from it slowly, hands at your sides. Never turn and run away—its predator instincts may kick in, and it will be inclined to chase you.
If the dog attacks, try to put something like a purse, bicycle or other object between you and it, which it can bite down on and might divert its attention. If the dog pounces and knocks you to the ground, curl up into a ball. Put your hands over your ears and freeze. Don’t move, and try not to scream.
If You Are Bitten
If you are bitten by a dog, immediately seek medical attention after thoroughly washing the wound with warm water and soap. Report the incident to the local animal control agency and give all the information you have about the animal and the incident. Then, contact a personal injury attorney who specializes in dog bites. A dog bite attorney can make sure that you get any compensation you deserve from the dog’s owner for your medical bills and recovery needs.
If you have been bitten by a dog in South Carolina, we can help. Read a bit more about dog bites, and give us a call for a no-obligation consult on your case today.