For many of us, pets are a member of our family. We care for our pets, provide them exercise, attention, and food. Ideally, everyone would treat their pets with the care and attention they deserve. The unfortunate reality is that not everyone tends to their pets with the same care and devotion that we do. Many pet owners are overwhelmed with the amount of care it takes to properly raise a pet and accordingly become reckless with the care of their pet. These owners let their animals run around leash-less, do not keep up with vaccinations and routine care of their animal, and some even abuse their pets. These pets become unruly, and oftentimes aggressive to other dogs and people. This can lead to attacks that could have been prevented. The best way to prevent dog bites is through education and practicing responsible dog ownership. This post focuses on understanding signals a dog may be giving and how children (the most common victims) can avoid attacks.
Understanding Dog Body Language
Understanding the body language of an animal is a key factor in avoiding an attack. Knowing the signs dogs give to indicate they are feeling afraid, threatened, or aggressive can keep you safe. The ASPCA, a humane society, has provided some tips to look for in an animal’s behavior that may be a precursor to an attack.
Attempting to look bigger
A threatened dog may attempt to make themselves look bigger. Their ears may perk up and face forward. The fur on their back and tail may stand on end and the tail may stand up (it may even wag). The dog may have a stiff, straight-legged stance, and move towards what the dog perceives as a threat. The dog may even bark, bare teeth, or growl. Approaching a dog displaying these stances may result in a bite and could lead to serious injuries.
Attempt to look smaller
A scared dog may cower, which is a sign of anxiety. The dog may try to crouch, lower their head, and put their tail between their legs. A dog that crouches and wags its tail does not mean the dog is friendly. The dog may even try to retreat, but keep in mind that if a dog feels as though it cannot retreat it may feel as though it has no alternative but to attack.
Dog Attacks on Children
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) children are some of the most common victims of dog bites and the injury rate was highest for children aged 5-9 years old. The most common injuries were to the arm/hand (45.3%), to the leg and foot (25.8%), and the head/neck (22.8%). For children under four years old the most common area of injury was to the head/neck (64.9%). Attacks on children can be devastating and have life-long implications for how a child perceives and interacts dogs. Here are some safety tips to prevent children from being bitten.
Watch which animals they approach
Children should not approach, touch, or play with a dog that is sleeping, eating, chewing, or caring for puppies. These animals are significantly more likely to bite if they are startled, frightened or caring for their young.
Do not approach aggressive dogs
A child should be taught that they should never approach a barking, growling or scared dog. It is important to teach children the signs to look for in an aggressive or anxious dog.
Children are inquisitive, and it is important to teach a child to ask for permission from the dog’s guardian before touching the dog.
Where the dog is located is important
A dog that is behind a fence should not be touched. Dogs protect their home and space, and arms that intrude through a fence may be viewed as a threat by the dog.
Children should be taught that if a dog is off leash to not approach the dog and to tell an adult immediately. If a loose dog comes near a child, the child should not run or scream but avoid eye contact and stand very still until the animal moves away.
Genthe Law Firm Can Help After A Dog Attack
Even if a person educates themselves on animal body language and does everything they are supposed to do, an attack may be out of their control. Unfortunately, due to bad pet owners who do not properly restrain or train their animals attacks can still happen. If you or a loved one has been injured form a dog attack let the lawyers at Genthe Law Firm help you get the recovery you need to get your life back to normal. As always, our consultations are free, and you will never pay us anything unless we get you compensation. Contact us today for more information.