Tips for Preventing Dog Bites

While you can’t imagine your fur baby ever being anything but wonderful, we owe it to them to remember that they are animals and sometimes natural instinct kicks in — taking over their usually good manners.

The unfortunate truth is that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 2% of the U.S. population is bitten by a dog each year. This means that we should all be careful when approaching a dog we don’t know. It also means that pet owners need to be extra diligent.

The following tips will help you be a more responsible dog owner and give you sound advice for dealing with a dog bite situation.

Tips for Dog Owners

Understand your dog. Know your dog’s background, its triggers and how to read his body language. Try to avoid situations which cause your pet stress so they’re less likely to bite. Training is a wonderful way to bond with your pup and learn what makes him tick and how to anticipate a potential situation.

Spay or neuter your pet. This decreases their desire to roam and fight, which also reduces the risk of biting or aggressive behavior.

Socialize your dog. This is one of the great benefits of training, doggy daycare and dog parks. The more your furry friend gets to interact with people and other animals in a fun environment, the more comfortable and friendly they are!

Follow the rules. Know what your local ordinances are and stay up to date on licensing, vaccinations and keep that pup on a leash when required.

Tips for Everyone

Stay as calm as you can. The dog will sense your fear and screaming and running will probably cause him to react aggressively. Try to stand still with your arms down and eyes averted should a strange dog approach you.

Move slowly. If you’re uncomfortable, slowly back away from the dog. Try to speak calmly and slip away without exciting it further.

Find a buffer. If you have anything on you or nearby, place it between you and the dog. A purse, a jacket, a bicycle — anything that could protect you from their teeth in the event they lash out.

Curl into a ball. If you’re being attacked, curl into a ball and protect your head, ears and neck as much as possible and stay still.

Seek medical attention. If you are bit, you should seek medical attention immediately. If the pet owner is around, get their phone number and the number of their vet. If not, make note of where the incident happened and take a picture of the dog if you can. You may also have to contact local authorities.

If your dog bites someone, it may be covered under your homeowners insurance or your renters insurance. Contact your American Family Insurance agent to learn more about dog bites and insurance.

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