How to Handle a Dog Bite
For most people, a dog is a companion — they are part of our family, and our often loved like children. But unfortunately there are those occasions where an unfamiliar dog might become aggressive with you, and go on the attack. It’s hard to believe it when a furry friend is not so friendly, but it does happen. Not only can an animal bring harm to you, but canines have been known to go after young children. Understanding how to take control of an attack, be on the defense, and find dominance in the offense may help save your life, or the lives of your loved ones. Below are a few tips to help when faced with the forewarning snarl of a dog.
Be aware of warning signs
Dogs are naturally territorial. While certain breeds or specific dogs can be seen as more aggressive than others, often times it’s due to their environment — a dog’s behavior is a reflection of its owner. Understanding the warning signs can help you avoid unnecessary pain and turmoil. Here is a list of common warning signs:
- Growling, snarling, or display of teeth in an aggressive manner
- Seeing the whites of a dogs eyes – if not usually visual, seeing the whites of a canine’s eyes means that they are alert, and on the offense
- Pulled-back ears that lay flat against the animals head. Much like the raised hair of a cat, this shows that the dog is tense, and is ready to take action if necessary.
Never aggravate a dog
Dog attacks usually occur do improper training, or wrongful care. While getting rid of horrible dog owners would be extremely appealing to most, there will always be bad dog owners, and poorly trained dogs. Being on the defense around a new animal is always a good idea, as you never know how it will react to you. Furthermore, you should never purposefully agitate an animal.
- Never approach a canine when it’s eating, or a female dog that is carrying pups. In these situations, dogs are extremely protective, and may see the slightest, non-aggressive approach as a mark of antagonism.
- Smiling may seem like a way of showing the dog that you mean no harm and are friendly — but remember that canines reveal their teeth when they are ready for a fight.
Ward off an attack
If for some reason a dog is agitated with you, it’s possible that they might go in for the attack. It’s at this time that you should go on the defense. If a dog approaches you, try to remain motionless, and do not make eye-contact. Doing so will alert the dog that you’re trying to avoid conflict. Running or moving around may be depicted as hostile, and could cause the dog to take action, and lunge.
Protecting yourself may be as simple as giving an angry dog something else to take a bite out of. Distracting the dog with a chew toy, stick, anything of interest may give the pooch a healthy alternative to release aggression. It’s not even a bad idea to carry dog toys/treats with you when traveling to unfamiliar areas.
If you’re fresh out of treats and the dogs is only becoming more aggressive, it’s now time to show dominance. Talking in a stern, commanding voice, try to tell the dog to “Go,” or “back away”. This action may intimidate the dog, and discourage it from harming you.
If it seems like an attack is inevitable, it’s time you defend yourself. Hitting or kicking the dog in the nose, throat, or head to disorientate it may give you some time to escape the attack. Yelling for help is okay to do at this time, and using your body weight to pin down the dog until help gets there/stop it from biting you. Using your knees and elbows will add pressure on to the dog. Straddling the dog with partial body weight and applying forward pressure to its neck is a more humane approach to take. Hurting the dog is not the intention here, but saving yourself is.
Legally protect yourself
After attending to your wounds, calling the authorities is a necessary step. There is a possibility that others can be injured by the canine, especially if it’s a stray. Likewise, seeking medical attention may be essential. Who knows what types of diseases the animal might be caring. Getting yourself checked out could save you from a lot of unexpected health issues.
If the dog is not a stray, than the dog’s owners are liable to take responsibility for their animal’s actions. If you or someone you know have been attacked by a dog and are seeking legal advice, contact the Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney from Wolf & Pravato at (800)428-3476