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How You Can Prevent a Dog Bite Injury

May 12 2023 | Personal Injury

Dog attacks can be violent and severely damaging, both physically and emotionally. It is always better to prevent a serious dog bite injury than to try to recover from one. Knowing what to do when faced with a potentially vicious or aggressive dog in your neighborhood could save your life. Our New Haven personal injury attorneys have experience handling a variety of dog bite claims, and sometimes they can be avoidable. 

Beware of Strange Dogs

Not all dogs are friendly. Some have been abused and do not trust humans, while others may be injured and scared. If the dog’s owner is there, ask for permission first before petting the dog. Start by allowing the dog to sniff your closed fist. If the dog reacts in a friendly way or is neutral, proceed to gently pet the dog. Aim for the shoulders or chest, not the face. Many dogs get nervous when approached directly head-on. 

If you encounter a strange dog while on a walk in New Haven, do not approach the animal. Never reach out to pet an unfamiliar dog or squat down to be at the dog’s eye level. Remain a safe distance away to assess the situation. If the dog appears injured, do not approach it. Many dogs become fearful and aggressive to protect themselves when injured. Contact animal control to help safely collect and treat the dog.

Learn to Read Body Language

You may be able to prevent an attack by recognizing the signs of an aggressive dog and avoiding an altercation. A dog may not be able to talk, but it can communicate with you in other ways. Learn how to read a dog’s body language if the owner is not present to control the animal. Any of the following could be signs of aggression and a warning to stay away:

  • Tense or rigid body
  • Hunched back
  • Raised shackles
  • Stiff tail
  • Backing away
  • Showing teeth
  • Flicking tongue
  • Growling or snarling
  • Intense staring

These signals typically indicate that a dog feels threatened or uncomfortable and may bite. Never attempt to approach or pet a dog that is exhibiting these behaviors. Instead, stay a safe distance away and contact animal control immediately. Professionals with protective gear can safely collect the dog.

Do Not Provoke the Dog

Do not make the mistake of assuming that every dog likes to play or interact with humans. When meeting a new dog or stray, never attempt to roughhouse or wrestle with the dog. Do not tease, pinch, strike, or poke the dog, or pull on its tail. If there are children present, tell them to keep a safe distance away and not to annoy or pester the dog. 

It is also important not to touch or approach a dog while it is eating or drinking. Many dogs are food-aggressive, especially if they grew up as strays and had to compete with other animals for food. Avoid the dog while it is eating, sleeping, chewing on a toy or nursing puppies. Never reach through a fence to pet a dog on the other side.

Know How to React in a Dangerous Situation

If it appears that a dog is about to lunge or attack you, take the following steps to protect yourself as much as possible:

  • Remain calm and quiet. Do not scream or run away from the dog.
  • Never turn your back on a dog that seems like it may bite.
  • Remain motionless, with your hands by your sides.
  • Do not make eye contact with the dog.
  • If the dog loses interest, slowly back away until you are out of sight.
  • If the dog lunges, try to put an item between you and the dog, such as a jacket or bag.
  • If a dog knocks you to the ground, curl into a ball and protect your face with your arms.
  • Go to a hospital immediately for treatment for any dog bite injuries.

 Should you get bitten by a dog despite your best efforts, the attorneys at Jacobs & Jacobs are here for you. Contact our dog bite injury attorneys for a free case consultation.

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