Dogs bite millions of people every year, and one out of five cases needs medical attention. Additionally, children and toddlers are more at risk of dog bites than grown-ups since they are on the receiving end of a dog’s canines. Getting involved in a dog attack can be a terrifying experience, and it can leave you with serious injuries. In the worst cases, dog bites can even be life-threatening. Every year, about 1 in 775 people need emergency medical care due to animal bites, and the most likely victims are boys between the ages of 5 and 9.
The Dangers Of Dog Bites
Dog bites are usually critical when children are involved. Children under the age of 10 typically suffer from bites around their head or neck area because their height is near the level of the large dog’s mouth. A large dog can also exert a lot of force, which can crush the bones and result in lacerations and puncture wounds. If the victim had suffered from numerous bites and severe injuries, it could lead to death from exsanguination.
Non-fatal bites can still pose the risks of disease and infection. The victim can contract an animal disease, which is very dangerous in victims with a weak immune system. The most common diseases that can be transferred to victims of dog bites are Pasteurella multocida- which can cause soft-tissue infection, and Staphylococcus aureus- which can cause skin infection.
However, the primary concern of dog-bite victims is contracting rabies. Most dogs and cats in the United States are vaccinated for rabies; thus, they do not have the virus that causes this disease. If your neighbor’s dog has bitten you, you can ask them to give you the documentation that states the vaccine shots their dog had. However, if you do not know the dog’s owner, or if the animal is acting strangely, or foam had developed at the mouth, you must keep the dog in sight but don’t go near it. You can call your local Animal Control authorities to capture it. The authorities can check whether the animal has rabies or not.
If rabies is suspected, you must immediately ask your doctor for antibiotics to prevent the dog-bite from becoming infected. If you are considering getting a rabies vaccination shot, you must prepare the following information:
- The type of dog that bit you
- Was the attack provoked or not? Unprovoked attacks usually happen with rabid animals
- The dog’s vaccination status
- Presence of rabies in your area.
Dog Bite Laws: The Liability Of The Dog Owner
The most common reason for dog bite cases is due to the dog owner’s negligence. Almost every state has dog bite laws that hold the dog owner responsible for the injuries caused by their negligence or irresponsible behaviors. Failure occurs when the dog owner does something they shouldn’t have done or failed due to something they should have, which had led to the dog bite injury. The dog owner is deemed negligent under the following circumstances:
They let their dog run free even when there is a leash law in your area
When they already knew that their dog gets quickly excited and they failed to take reasonable steps to protect others from the dog, such as keeping dogs away from visitors -If the dog’s chain is not secured correctly or isn’t secure enough to restrain the dog
If a dog bit you due to the dog owner’s actions or the lack thereof, you can claim damages payment for the dog bite injuries you have sustained. You can consult with a dog bite attorney to help you move your case forward.
Preventing Dog Bites
Although it’s not something we like to think about, it’s essential to know that even the friendliest of dogs will bite if provoked. Being aware of how dog bites occur, what types of damage they can cause, and the associated costs of responding to injuries are all part of what being a responsible pet owner is about.
According to facts provided by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AMVA), over a million dog attacks are reported each year, while millions more go unreported. Of the million or so people who require medical treatment for dog bites annually, some 500,000 involved in dog attacks end up in a hospital emergency room. Dog bites are the number one public health problem for children, and occurrences increase at a rate of two percent annually. Combined medical, insurance, and other fees related to dog bites cost society 1 billion dollars annually.
As you can see, a significant number of sobering statistics present the dog bite issue as a serious problem.
Fortunately, it is a problem that can be resolved if we are all willing to take responsibility for our behavior and our pets’ behavior. Dog owners should understand that breed is not necessarily an indicator of temperament. Unfortunately, some owners develop aggressive and ultimately dangerous dogs on purpose. With proper care and training, any dog can become a safe and friendly pet.
The AMVA offers this advice:
Carefully consider your pet selection by discussing behavior and suitability with your veterinarian.
- Neuter your pet. The fact is that neutered dogs are less likely to bite.
- Work to socialize your dog so that it feels comfortable around people and other animals.
- Obey leash laws and teach your dog to respond to and obey basic commands.
- Keep your dog healthy and out of situations where they may feel threatened.
- Never leave a baby or small child alone with a dog
Partial responsibility for correcting the dog bite problem also falls to people who may not own dogs but encounter them just the same:
- Don’t approach a strange dog assuming that you can walk up and start petting it
- Teach children to ask permission before petting a dog.
- Don’t run past a dog. Dog’s love to chase and catch.
- If you fall or are attacked by a dog, curl into a ball with your hands over your head and neck to protect your face.
- If your dog bites someone, you need to take responsibility, even if the reason for the bite can be explained. To protect yourself and the animal after a dog bite:
- Restrain the dog immediately and move it away from the scene of the attack.
- Check on the condition of the victim and administer aid when necessary.
- Make available all the needed information to identify your dogs, such as your address, phone number, and the dog’s most recent rabies vaccination date.
- Comply with local laws regarding the reporting of dog bites and report the bite to your insurance company.
- Talk with your veterinarian to see what can be done to avoid repeat incidents.
- Take a moment to see if you’ve done your part to reduce the potential for a dog bite in your part of the world. And make sure your kids know how to treat a dog and know what to do if a dog bite occurs.