Dog bites are a serious problem across the country and across the state each year. Each year, 4.5 million people are victims of dog bites. One in five bite victims require medical attention due to personal injury caused by the bite. While many people have the common sense to stay away from an aggressive, dangerous dog, even well-mannered and friendly dogs can suddenly bite. .
Bites are a special concern because they so often cause injuries to children and minors. Children are often drawn to animals and wish to pet them. They also often have less understanding about the signs of aggression in a dog and may not know how to get away in the event that a dog becomes aggressive. They are often more trusting of a strange animal as well. Unfortunately, because of their relatively smaller size, children can sustain much more serious brain injuries, facial disfigurement, and other serious personal injuries due to a dog attack.
If you are a dog owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that your dog does not bite somebody. It is important to never let your pet out without a leash. Spaying or neutering your pet can make your dog far less aggressive and can help reduce the possibility of a dog attack. If you’re visiting a family with a young child or baby, or if children are visiting your home, never leave the dog unattended with the children. Children will sometimes inadvertently tease an animal, causing it to bite.
There are many things that dog owners can do to help ensure that their dogs are socialized to bite less. If you get your dog as a puppy, avoid playing aggressive or rough games with your pet. Inadvertently, this can teach your dog that biting or other aggressive behavior is acceptable. If you get your dog as an adult, consider obedience classes and a professional trainer to promote good behavior. Make sure that your dog gets plenty of social activity — such as playing with other dogs or long walks — as this can make your dog less liable to bite.
It is not just the owner’s responsibility to prevent fights. People approaching a dog should also take certain steps to prevent dog bites. It is important, for example, never to cross a fence or enter a gate where dogs are present. Many dogs are very territorial and will bite to defend their territory. If you wish to pet a dog, make sure that you ask the owner. Some dogs are aggressive or are ill and may bite. Never approach a dog that is sleeping or eating.
If a dog approaches you and you are worried about a dog attack, avoid shouting or running. Remain calm. Remain motionless and avoid all contact with the dog, as dogs will often see eye contact as a sign of aggression. Remain still until the dog loses interest and walks away.