Dogs are considered to be man’s best friend. But while dogs can be friendly and loyal, they can also act defensively if they’re hurt or feel threatened.
According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 4.7 million dog bite injuries occur in the U.S. every year. Dog bite injuries can not only cause pain and suffering but they can also spread bacteria and cause infection.
It’s important to keep in mind that any dog can bite, and reading a dog’s body language both as an owner and a non-owner is vital to preventing a dog bite.
How can I reduce the risk of a dog bite?
Children are at high risk for dog bite injuries. Because of this, small children shouldn’t be allowed to play with a dog unsupervised.
Kids can play rough with a dog or may touch them in a way that makes the dog uncomfortable or hurts them. More than half of all dog bites happen in the home with dogs we’re familiar with.
How can you prevent dog bite injuries? There are a few things you want to keep in mind including:
- Never approach an unfamiliar dog.
- Never pet a dog without letting the dog see and smell you first.
- Never encourage your dog to play aggressively.
- Don’t disturb a dog that’s caring for puppies.
- Don’t disturb a dog that’s eating or sleeping.
- Don’t run from a dog.
- Don’t panic is a dog approaches you and don’t make loud noises.
- Never let small children play with a dog without adult supervision.
- Never pet someone else’s dog without asking first.
- Remain motionless when approached by an unfamiliar dog.
- Let someone know immediately about any stray dogs in the area or any dog that’s behaving oddly.
What do I do if I’m approached by a strange dog?
If you’re approached by a dog you don’t know, don’t run away or panic. Stay perfectly still and don’t move or make any loud noises. Avoid making direct eye contact with the dog as direct eye contact is seen as challenging body language.
Don’t stand directly facing the dog. Instead, turn and stand with the side of your body facing them. Slowly and carefully cover your neck with your hands and keep your elbows tucked in.
Slowly back away or wait for the dog to walk away. If you’re ever knocked over by a dog, protect yourself by curling into a ball with your head tucked and your hands covering your neck and ears. Don’t attempt to kick, hit, or fight the dog off.
What do I do if I’m attacked by a dog?
In the event that you’ve been knocked down by the dog, follow the steps listed above. If you’re not knocked over by the dog, put a jacket or bag between you and the dog if you have one to protect yourself.
Should you suffer dog bite injuries, immediately wash your wounds with soap and water when you’re able to get to a safe place. It’s vital that you need out medical attention immediately.
What do I do if I’ve suffered minor dog bite injuries?
For minor dog bite injuries, it’s recommended to wash the wounds with soap and water carefully and thoroughly. When the wound has been cleaned, apply an antibiotic cream to the area and cover the wound with a clean bandage.
Seek medical attention if you were bitten by a dog that was acting strangely, you develop a fever, or if the wound becomes red, swollen, warm, or painful.
What do I do if I’ve suffered major dog bite injuries?
If you’ve been bitten by a dog and suffered a major injury, it’s important to first stop the bleeding. Apply pressure to the wound with a clean, dry cloth. Contact your local emergency medical services or call 911 if you can’t stop the bleeding or if you feel weak or faint.
In the event that you’re able to stop the bleeding with applied pressure, rinse the wound with water once the bleeding has stopped. Keep the wound under running water to reduce your risk of infection. You can wash the area around the wound with soap, but be careful not to get soap in the wound.
Seek out medical attention as soon as possible, but especially if you don’t know if the dog you’ve been bitten by has been vaccinated for rabies, the wound is serious, the sound becomes red or swollen, you develop a fever, or if it’s been over five years since your last tetanus shot.
What kind of diseases can I get from a dog bite?
A dog may not be a mosquito or a bat, but that doesn’t mean they can’t pass along serious illnesses when they bite. This is also true for the dogs that you know, not just a stray dog.
Dogs have more than 60 different types of bacteria in their mouths. When passed along from their mouths and into your bloodstream through a bite, those bacteria can make you sick. In fact, dog bite injuries have been known to cause the following illnesses including many more that aren’t listed below:
- Tetanus. The reason why it’s important to seek out a medical professional if you’ve been bitten by a dog and it’s been over five years since your last tetanus shot is because dogs can carry tetanus. Tetanus is a toxin that’s produced by a bacteria known as Clostridium tetani. Tetanus can cause rigid paralysis, and you’re at greater risk if you’ve suffered a deep bite wound.
- Rabies. Rabies is a serious disease you can contract from any type of mammal. Rabies is a virus that impacts the brain and is spread through an animal’s saliva. Rabies is typically prevented by vaccinating dogs.
- Pasteurella. Pasteurella is a type of bacteria that are passed onto more than 50% of all dog bites. It causes a red, painful infection that can cause swelling in the joints, difficulty moving, and swollen glands. The bacteria can also cause a more serious illness in those who have a weakened immune system such as a child, a senior, or a person with an auto-immune disease.
How do I report a dog bite?
Once you’ve seen a medical professional about your dog bite injuries, you can report your dog bite. Contact your local police department or animal control agency to report the incident if the dog was behaving strangely or if you don’t know if the dog has been vaccinated for rabies.
You can contact the dog owner if you knew the dog to ask about the dog’s current rabies vaccination. You’ll need the owner’s name, address, phone number, the name of the dog’s veterinarian who gave the dog the rabies vaccine, and the rabies vaccine license number.
Remember that any dog, even your own, can bite. It’s important to protect yourself and read your dog’s body language. By following the tips above, you can reduce your risk of getting bitten by suffering an injury.
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Whether you were in a car accident, suffered dog bite injuries, or suffered another type of personal injury, Heriberto Ramos can help you file your personal injury claim and pursue your case. For more information about filing personal injury claims, contact the Odessa TX personal injury lawyers at the law office of Heriberto Ramos today.