Raising a dog is an amazing experience! Despite the fact that a pet is an entirely different species, many people grow just as attached to a dog as they would a person. People talk to dogs like humans, care for dogs like children, and love them with all their hearts. A pet isn’t just an animal, it becomes a part of the family. Despite dogs being thoroughly domesticated and their usually lovable natures however, dogs have still maintained their predatory instincts and it’s important to be cautious when interacting with these animals. That's why April 8-14th this year is Dog Bite Prevention Week! As we previously mentioned in other Dog Bite Prevention Week articles this past week, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recommends that people do not approach a dog that is acting oddly, or aggressively, or the person might risk receiving a dog bite injury.
A dog can’t be held completely responsible for its behavior in attacking, but dog owners are responsible for their pet and their pet’s actions toward those it comes in contact with. So to not be blamed for their dog biting someone, tearing up the lawn next door, or starting a neighborhood dog fight club, the AVMA recommends that pet owners train their dog to prevent it from acting out, which could lead to dog bite injuries. Even basic commands like “sit” and “come” help dogs understand what’s expected from them and can help avoid possible dog attack situations. Also, remembering to keep dogs on a leash while in public, ensures the safety of the dog, prevents it from running away, and is a comforting measure to people who may feel uncomfortable around dogs. It should also be noted that it is illegal in the State of Michigan to have an unleashed dog in public.
However, even a well-trained dog can be set off by a person’s actions and decide to bite them, in self defense. In dog attack situations, responsible dog owners should be aware of the following information provided by the AVMA.
What Do I Do If My Dog Bites Someone?
Dog bites are scary for everyone involved – the person who has been bitten, the dog owner and even the dog. If your dog happens to bite someone, remember that you are responsible to help the person who has been bitten and to remove your dog from the situation. What should you do if the unfortunate happens?
- Restrain your dog immediately.
- Separate your dog from the scene of the bite.
- Try to confine your dog in a safe place.
- Check on the bite victim’s condition.
- Make sure that the wounds are washed with soap and water.
- Encourage the bite victim to seek professional medical advice to check on the seriousness of the wound and the risk of rabies or other infections.
- Call 911 if a response by paramedics is needed.
- Provide important information.
- Give the bite victim – or others who are with the person at the time of the incident – your name, address and phone number, as well as information about your dog’s most recent rabies vaccination.
- Obey local rules and laws regarding reporting of dog bites.
- Talk to your veterinarian for advice about dog behavior that will help prevent similar incidents in the future.
Before approaching any dog, even one with its owner, the AVMA recommends that people pay attention to the behavior of a dog before engaging and to ask the owner before petting their pooch. The dog may not be friendly towards strangers or might be in distress and see the person as a threat, which could leave the well-intentioned dog lover with a dog bite and a trip to the ER. After all, dog bite injuries are serious injuries. 1 in 5 people bitten by a dog require medical attention.
The bond between man and dog is undeniable. People love dogs and many would feel lost without them. There are about 70 million dogs living in U.S. households, according to the AVMA, and such a large number shows how much people value dogs in the U.S. today. However, it’s always better to be safe than sorry with so many dogs around, so it’s important to be aware of dog bite prevention tactics and what to do in the case of a dog bite injury.
Dog bite injuries can occur unexpectedly. Any dog, stray or house pet, can cause a dog bite injury. Therefore, it’s important to take safety precautions before approaching a dog, and as the owner of a dog, to be vigilant of its actions. If you or someone you know has been the victim of a dog bite accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.464.3476 for a free consultation with a dog bite attorney. Dog bites are painful but the medical bills they create can be equally agonizing.