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Dogs can be a great companion; they can help teach kids responsibility and be a wonderful addition to your family.  However, dogs are still animals.  They sometimes act unpredictably—they can bite and injure people, even their owners.  But, there are usually reasons why dogs bite, which means there are things we can do to avoid an accident.

Dogs in an uncomfortable or abusive environment are more likely to bite. With April as World Habitat Awareness month, it’s important to make sure that everyone, including dogs, are in a safe and healthy environment.  This not only keeps your dogs happy, but it will keep your family and neighbors safe by reducing the risk of dog bites.

From the Dog’s Perspective

Dogs have a reason when they bite. Oftentimes, the dog is frightened, is protecting something or someone, or is under stress before they bite. A dog’s environment can be one thing that can provoke a bite  Helping your dog feel safe with you, strangers, and other dogs can help lower the risk of an attack.

It goes without saying that it is everyone’s responsibility to report animal abuse.  Dogs in an abusive or cruel environment can feel vulnerable and stressed and may bite to protect themselves.  If you suspect that an animal is being mistreated, you can report animal abuse through the Humane Society.

Dogs generally give warning signs before biting. Though it’s impossible to fully predict how a dog is going to react, there are some things you can do to get a sense of how a dog is feeling. According to the Humane Society, dogs that are feeling uncomfortable will often:

  • Tense up their bodies
  • Pull back their head and ears
  • Stare intensely
  • Growl
  • Back Away

Being aware of a dog’s body language can help prevent a dog bite. World Habitat Awareness month isn’t just for humans.  This month, be sure to keep your dog’s habitat as comfortable and stress-free as possible, for their benefit and yours.

From Our Perspective

While your dog may not have bitten anyone, it is only one of the 70-80 million pet dogs in the United States. This means that your family pet is not the only dog you or your family will come in contact with. There is an average of 4.5 million dog bites per year in the United States. Dog bites are often minor, but about 25% of all bites require some sort of medical attention. Although we all interact with dogs whether we own one or not, those who have dogs in the home are at more risk of being bitten.

Dogs and Kids

While kids and dogs can get along well, children have a higher risk of being bitten than adults. Kids of ages 5-9 suffer the largest number of reported attacks as well as the highest rate of medical treatment from bites. To keep kids safer, you can teach them never to kiss a dog’s face or hug a dog. Both actions can make the dog feel trapped and may provoke them to bite in order to escape.

Some dogs, especially bigger breeds, have the ability to inflict serious damage if they bite somebody. Damage to the skin, bones, nerves, and muscle of the victim isn’t the only risk. If a dog bite breaks the skin, there is a high risk of disease.  Because of this, be sure to immediately seek medical attention after a dog bite.

How We Can Help

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For more information about dog bites, order a free copy of our Utah Dog Bite & Attack Handbook or learn more about our other free books here.

Sometimes, dog bites are unavoidable and can cause serious damage. You may qualify for financial compensation if you’ve been injured from a dog bite. For more information or answers to questions about how Christensen & Hymas can help, please visit our website to set up a free consultation.

 

Photo courtesy of Max Pixel 

Ken Christensen
Partner, Founder at Christensen & Hymas
Ken Christensen is the founding partner of Christensen & Hymas. He is an avid cyclist, loves baseball, and enjoys spending time with his family in the outdoors.

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