Contrary to what many people believe, dog bites occur more frequently in adults than in children. In fact, of the 1,000 daily emergency room visits for dog bites each year, approximately 89% of those are for injuries sustained by adults. A few additional tidbits of information concerning dog bites:
- Approximately 81% of all dog bites in the US each year are sustained to children under the age of 18
- Dogs aren’t keen on the mailman; it isn’t just in the movies. Many people joke about the mailman being attacked, but it is far from a laughing matter. In 2014, more than 6,000 mailmen were attacked by dogs while on duty.
- Pit Bull breeds were responsible for approximately 59% of all dog bites incurred in 2014
- The Rottweiler breeds were responsible for approximately 53% of all dog bites in the 2014 year
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Is The Dog Ready to Bite?
Do not become an inclusion in these statistics. Dogs rarely attack or bite before giving a fair warning of their agitation or aggression and intent to attack. It is imperative to know these signs and understand how to respond in case you find yourself face-to-face with a vicious dog ready to strike.
Dogs bite for many reasons, including in those instances they feel threatened or that they are being attacked, to protect their home or their owners and sometimes because they’ve been trained to fight or to serve as a guard dog.
Signs that a dog is ready to attack include:
- Growling and Snapping: The most obvious sign that a dog is ready to bite is growling and snapping. A dog performing one or both of these actions is trying to tell you that he is angry and feels threatened. If a dog is growling or snapping, it is best to back off if possible.
- Wagging Tail: Many dog owners think that a dog wagging its tail is an indication of happiness and while it definitely happens when he is happy, it also commonly occurs before he bites. You might notice a variation in the way that he wags his tail when he is happy versus when he is angry if you pay attention.
- Hair Standing: Dogs who are scared or who feel threatened oftentimes raise the hair on their backs. If you notice that a dog’s hair is raised, back off!
- Stiff Body: A dog that is ready to bite is also trying to prove his dominance. Expect a stiff, rigid posture and a pose indicative of attack.
- Showing Teeth: Showing teeth is another aggressive sign that a dog displays when he is agitated and ready to attack
How To Avoid Being Dog Bitten
To avoid being bitten by a dog, you should, first and foremost, always be aware of your surroundings. All-to-often it is joggers, walkers, cyclists and children who are bitten by dogs, all because they weren’t aware of their surroundings.
Teach your children that they should never touch a dog or even go up to pet it without adult supervisor. It is never a good idea to approach a dog that you are unfamiliar with. Never let a child pinch, poke, ride or otherwise taunt a dog. Even if the child is not bitten, it could cause the dogs aggression to increase, resulting in attacks later down the line.
When encountered by a vicious dog, stay calm and use the information below to your advantage. This information can make a difference in being bitten and staying safe.
What To Do if You Encounter a Dog Ready to Bite
If you do find yourself in danger of being dog bitten, it is important not to panic. Your instinct is to panic, but the more you show fear or move around the more agitated and aggressive the animal is likely to become. Staying calm will improve your odds of coming out of the situation bite-free.
One of the most important pieces of information to remember when being threatened by a dog is not to run. Some people believe that turning and removing themselves from the situation is a good idea, however, this is something likely to result in being bitten if you try to do it.
You should remember to remain as still as possible if you at the mercy of a dog ready to attack. It is best to assume a tree position with your arms extended alongside your body. Do not make eye contact with the dog, as this might be seen as a gesture to fight. Dogs are dominant creatures and making them feel like anything less will result in the animal proving itself and attacking. If possible, turn sideways from the dog as well. Do not take your vision off of the pet, but turning your body a bit will indicate to the animal that you are not a threat to him.
If at all possible, distract the dog with another item. This is a good time to have a dog biscuit in your pocket, but since you probably aren’t walking around with these treats readily available, you’ll need to find other ways to distract the dog. Throwing a stick may work for some dogs, but not all. You might also try to shove something into the mouth of the dog to prevent a bite.
If the dog attacks, by all means fight back as best as you can while also defending yourself against injury. Hitting or kicking the animal in the face or in the throat is best, if possible. You should also yes a stern voice and command the dog to go away or to sit. Not only will this potentially scare the dog away, but will also alert others of your emergency so that they may be able to help.
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Adam S. Kutner
PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER
With more than 33 years of experience fighting for victims of personal injury in the Las Vegas Valley, attorney Adam S. Kutner knows his way around the Nevada court system and how to get clients their settlement promptly and trouble-free.