As people in Washington and around the country enjoy the summer outdoors, dog bites become more common. Most households in the U.S. have at least one pet in the home, but some dogs may be more prone to biting or other dangerous behavior. In addition, outside stimuli can increase anxiety, leading to greater risk. There are some actions that people can take to help keep themselves safe.
Best practices for avoiding dog bites
Every year, there are 4.5 million dog bites across the country. Many of these bites may be small or insignificant and involve dogs inside the family home, while others involve outside dogs and lead to more serious injuries. Dogs most commonly bite if they are startled or anxious, and encounters with other dogs may precipitate some of the personal injuries suffered by their human owners. Adults and children can help to protect themselves by staying quiet around dogs and respecting their space. Children in particular should not hug, sit on or climb atop dogs, and dogs that are already agitated or in pain are more likely to bite.
Which dogs are likely to bite?
Most dogs that bite are not classified as aggressive or dangerous because they have no history of previous bites. Dogs that are new to the home, such as recent rescues, may show particular stress as they are adjusting to a new environment and may be particularly volatile while eating. However, some dogs have a record of repeated misbehavior that is not curbed by their owners.
People can take actions to protect themselves, from standing still to keeping away from unfamiliar dogs. However, negligent dog owners can cause serious injuries to others when they continue to bring their dangerous or untrained dogs out in public or fail to supervise them. A personal injury lawyer may help victims to pursue compensation if they are injured by a dog bite.