Dealing With a Dog Bite

Most dogs are well behaved and are not vicious, but people still need to know how to interact with dogs to stay safe around them and aren’t injured by a dog bite. Most bites are not the result of vicious and aggressive dogs, but rather the result of people who are not aware of the boundaries of these animals. Dogs will bite when they feel threatened or scared and they will bite in self-defense.

Dogs Are Fantastic Pets
Dogs bring companionship and a great deal of joy to a lot of people, but not every dog is friendly. If a dog isn’t yours, or you are not it’s handler then you need to be respectful of the dog and the wishes of it’s handler or owner.

There are currently about 75 million dogs in the U.S.A. About 4.7 million dog bites are reported annually. That means that about 6.5% of the dog population will bite a human hard enough to be reported. Out of those 4.7 million reported bites, about 800,000 or one out of six is serious enough to require medical attention. So, each year 1% of dogs will bite somebody seriously enough for them to require medical attention. And that is assuming that each dog bite comes from a different dog. Most dogs are well behaved and are not vicious, but people still need to know how to interact with dogs to stay safe around them and aren’t injured by a dog bite. Most bites are not the result of vicious and aggressive dogs, but rather the result of people who are not aware of the boundaries of these animals. Dogs will bite when they feel threatened or scared and they will bite in self-defense.

Dog Bites Are Easy To Avoid
Most dog bites should never happen in the first place. Knowing the thresholds of dogs and what makes them feel threatened is a great way to prevent them. You should never pet a dog when it is eating or when it is sleeping. Dogs are animals and their first priority is self-preservation. A dog is defenseless when sleeping, so if it is startled it’s instinct is to bite. This is a reactionary bite that a dog has no control over and may not even know that it’s doing. Another step to avoid being bitten is to avoid putting your hands over a dogs head, particularly if you are not familiar with the dog. A dog’s neck is a very vulnerable place they will instinctively try to protect it. Putting your hand over a dog’s head is something the animal may see as a threat. Another thing that a dog may see as a threat or challenge is direct eye contact. With dogs that you are not familiar with it is best to avoid direct eye contact because the dog may see it as a threat. When you interact with a dog that does not belong to you, ask the owner or handler if it is okay to approach the animal and respect whatever they tell you, whether that be a flat out “no” or if they ask you to approach the dog in a certain way, you should listen. They know the dog’s temperament better than you and it is up to them to decide if they will allow you to interact with their animal. Even smaller dogs can do damage with a bite as there are many forms of bacteria in the mouth of a canine.

Dog Owners Must Be Responsible
In most states a dog’s owner is liable if the animal bites. It makes no difference if the dog has no history of biting or how well it is generally behaved. Dog law usually requires that the owner provide monetary compensation to the victim of a dog bite for medical bills and may require that the dog be quarantined or even put down.

What To Do If You Are a Dog Bite Victim
The first thing you need to do if you are a dog bite victim is to identify the dog who bit you and who the owner is. You should make sure that the dog is up-to-date on all it’s vaccinations. If the dog isn’t, or you were bitten by a dog you can’t identify you may want to get a rabies shot although rabies in dogs is not much of a concern now-a-days. If a dog bite is serious enough, or if you can’t identify the owner of the dog to find out if it is up-to-date on shots then you should go see a doctor. About 1,000 Americans go to the emergency room for dog bites every day. If you are bitten in the face or you are concerned with disfigurement then you may want to see a plastic surgeon, because emergency rooms top priority is not always cosmetic issues. If the bite isn’t serious enough to get you to go to the hospital then make sure that you wash the bite with soap at the very least. Hydrogen peroxide is preferable because dogs have a lot of bacteria in their mouths and you want to make sure none of it is transmitted to you. For this same reason you do not want to stitch a dog bite because you may be trapping bacteria underneath your skin. The best course of action is to bandage the bite and let it heal on its own. Lastly you should contact a personal injury attorney or an experienced dog bite lawyer. A lawyer will help to protect your rights and to make sure you are compensated by the insurance companies for any medical bills you may have.

What You Shouldn’t Do If Bitten By a Dog
When bitten by a dog you should not discuss any financial issues connected to the dog bite until you have talked with a personal injury attorney. You should not make any recorded statements or let someone photograph your injury. You can however document the bite for your own personal recordsFeature Articles, but do not let others do the same. Finally you should not discuss the incident with anybody until you have first spoken with a personal injury attorney or a dog bite lawyer.

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