Safety Tips to Prevent Dog Bites

Dog bites are a common concern, often resulting in injuries ranging from minor cuts and bruises to severe wounds requiring medical attention. The CDC reports there are an average of 43 deaths a year due to dog bites, underscoring the importance of understanding how to prevent them and stay safe around our furry companions.

Consider the following tips for preventing dog bites to protect yourself from injury. In addition, if you are harmed by an aggressive dog in Missouri, a Missouri dog bite lawyer from Cofman Townsley can help you pursue compensation from the dog’s owners.

Ask Permission

Even if a dog seems friendly, you should keep in mind that you don’t know their behaviors and comfort levels. Before approaching or engaging the dog, always seek the owner’s permission. This minimizes the chance of surprising or upsetting the dog, potentially preventing a bite.

Avoid Teasing or Rough Touching

Dogs, like humans, can become upset or anxious when teased or handled roughly. Avoid behaviors that may provoke a dog, such as teasing, pulling on their ears or tail, or attempting to ride or climb on them.

Don’t interrupt a dog while sleeping or eating, as this can catch them off guard and trigger a defensive reaction. Showing dogs kindness and respect helps build rapport and reduces the chances of provoking aggressive behavior.

Recognize Signs of Discomfort

Understanding canine body language is essential for preventing dog bites. Dogs communicate their feelings and intentions through various cues, including body posture, facial expressions, and vocalizations.

Signs of discomfort or distress in dogs may include flattened ears, a tense body, raised hackles, growls, or bared teeth. If you observe any of these behaviors, back off and stop any further engagement. Ignoring these warnings could intensify the situation, potentially leading to an attack.

Approach with Caution

The below approach not only ensures your safety but also helps in establishing a trusting relationship with the animal from the outset.

  • Look for Welcoming Body Language: A dog with a relaxed stance and wagging tail typically shows it’s at ease.
  • Let the Dog Come to You: Rather than heading toward the dog, let them approach you on their own terms. This gives the dog a chance to evaluate you and choose to come closer if they feel comfortable.
  • Offer Your Hand: After getting the owner’s okay, gently extend your hand and allow the dog to sniff it. This non-threatening gesture helps the dog become acquainted with you.
  • Speak Softly: Speak to the dog in a calm, soft tone. Loud voices could surprise or overexcite them.
  • Avoid Direct Eye Contact: Making direct eye contact can intimidate dogs. Instead, briefly look at the dog and then avert your gaze to signal that you’re not a threat.
  • Pet Gently: If the dog appears at ease around you, softly stroke its chest or beneath the chin instead of reaching over its head, which they might perceive as a dominating action.
  • Respect Their Space: If the dog shows signs of discomfort or pulls away, honor their need for space and avoid pushing for interaction.

Supervise Children

Children are at a higher risk of dog bites due to their natural curiosity and lack of understanding of dog behavior. One study found that children under 2 and between 9 and 12 are bitten the most often, with those under 5 frequently suffering head or neck injuries.

Supervise children when they’re around dogs and teach them the right way to interact. Make sure they know to ask before petting any dog and show them how to approach dogs in a gentle and respectful manner.

Teach children to recognize when a dog might be feeling threatened or upset and to calmly move away if they notice these signs. By keeping a close eye on them and guiding them, you can help keep both the kids and the dogs safe.

Let Us Help After a Dog Bite Attack

Avoiding dog bites involves being aware, showing respect, and acting responsibly, both as dog owners and as members of the public. However, even with these precautions, dogs may unexpectedly snap and attack, regardless of their previous behavior.

If you’ve been hurt by a dog bite in Missouri, you have a right to seek compensation for your damages. Our team at Cofman Townsley can help you estimate your expenses and file a settlement claim to help pay for these losses. Contact us today for a free consultation, and let us fight for the compensation you deserve.