Almost 5 million people get bitten by dogs in the U.S. each year and near 900,000 are injured due to these bites. About half of the people injured by dog bites are children. Unfortunately a lot of these accidents are actually avoidable. If dog owners would better train and care for their dogs and people would behave properly around dogs, many of these accidents wouldn’t happen. Let’s have a look at how you can prevent getting injured by a dog bite.
Keep Your Distance
If you’re around a dog that you don’t know, it’s best to keep your distance. If the dog’s with their owner and you want to pet the dog, ask the owner first if this is ok. Never try to pet dogs behind fences. Dogs often aggressively protect their territory, which can mean big trouble for you. Keep your distance from loose dogs as well, you never know if they are aggressive or not.
Take it Slow
Before you pet a dog, let them approach you first so they can take sniff and find out that you’re not a threat of any kind. Then you can touch the dog gently. Never play rough with a dog that’s not your own.
Avoid Aggressive Dogs
While they might say that a barking dog never bites, this expression is more applicable to humans than dogs. If you know what a dog that’s about to attack looks like, you can avoid the attack by backing off in time. If a dog is growling, showing its teeth, has its ears pinned back or its hairs raised, it’s time to slowly back away.
Don’t Show Fear
If a dog is acting aggressively towards you, don’t run away but slowly back up, continuing to keep an eye on the dog. Running away might trigger the dog to chase you as pray. If the dog attacks, use a jacket, bag or whatever you have on you to throw at it as buffer between you and the dog.
Educate Your Children
Children will often play with dogs even when the dog doesn’t want to be played with. You can’t really blame children for this of course, because they want to play with everyone and everything. It’s important to teach your children that dogs can be dangerous and they should always stay away from strange dogs. If you own a dog yourself, don’t let your small children play with it when you are not around to watch them.
Don’t Hug Dogs
Hugging is something people do, not dogs. Dogs might take hugging as an act of aggression and respond accordingly. Pet a dog, scratch it under its chin, but never hug it.
If you’ve been bitten by a dog, wash the wound with soap and water and then immediately see a doctor to get the proper care for your injuries. Once you have been treated for your bite(s), contact your local animal care and control agency to report the bite. You might also want to file a personal injury claim against the dog’s owner to get compensation for your injuries.