Dogs are truly man’s best friend, but no matter how trained and docile they are, you should always remember that they are animals first. Any living being, when put in certain situations, may become defensive and not the docile the creature you recognize. This is no exception for dogs. Here are a few tips for you and your family this summer to keep you safe and help you avoid dog bites.

Be Cautious and Pay Attention

When encountering a dog, especially for the first time, you should always be polite and respectful of the dog’s personal space. It is never a good idea to approach an unfamiliar dog, especially one that is in a confined spaced or tied up. Also, remember to not pet any dog, even if it is your own, before letting it see and sniff you beforehand. When a dog is engaging in certain activities such as eating, sleeping, caring for their puppies, or chewing on a toy, you should be mindful and not disturb them as well. When in doubt, it is best to always assume that a dog will view you as a threat or an intruder.

If you are in any of the above situations or in a situation in which a dog becomes uncomfortable or threatened, here are some warning signs to be cautious and aware of to know if it might bite:

• The dog has a furrowed brow.
• The dog’s body is tensed.
• The dog has an intense stare.
• The dog’s tail is stiff.
• The dog is backing away.
• The dog’s head and/or ears are pulled back.
• The dog is flicking its tongue.

In these events, never turn your back on the dog because its natural instincts will be to chase you. Be sure to put enough space between yourself and the dog by cautiously backing away as soon as possible.

If a Dog Might Attack

If you are in a situation in which it seems a dog may attack or bite, here are a few tips as a final attempt to diffuse the situation:

• Do not scream or run away; instead, remain calm and motionless with your hands by your side.
• Avoid eye contact with the dog.
• Once the dog loses interest or diverts is attention elsewhere, slowly back away from the dog a safe distance.
• If the dog does attack, use items like your purse or a bike to put in between yourself and the dog.
• If you fall to the ground, curl up into a ball and cover your ears with your hands. Remain completely still and soundless.

If You Are Bitten or Attacked

Unfortunately, accidents do happen, and in the event in which a dog does bite you or a loved one, here are a few tips for you to follow to not worsen the situation:

• Immediately clean the wound with soap and water.
• Contact your doctor as soon as possible for advice on appropriate treatment.
• Be sure to report the incident to the local animal control agency.

If you would like to learn more about preventing and handling dog bites and other personal injuries and what to do in these situations, contact Mitch Grissim & Associates today.