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When Good Dogs Go Bad: How To Prevent Dog Bites

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Sometimes danger lurks in the most unlikely of places. This is all too often the case when it comes to dog bites. One day, that docile and devoted dog or playful puppy you’re used to cuddling or roughhousing with suddenly becomes angry and aggressive. Maybe it snarls, bares its teeth, or actually lunges at you, ready to do some damage. Dog bites often occur suddenly, coming as a complete shock to their owners. Injuries caused by dog bites can be serious, and the bigger the dog, the more severe (and even life-threatening) the injury. The following includes vital information you need to know concerning why dogs bite, the warning signs of an attack, and how you can prevent yourself from being injured.

What Makes A Good Dog Bite?

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) estimates that approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur in the United States each year. While some of these bites are minor, it’s estimated that 1 in 5 people who are bitten will have injuries serious enough as to require medical treatment. Children are among the most frequent victims of dog bites, and it is usually from an animal they are familiar with, such as a family pet, or one belonging to a neighbor. What causes otherwise good dogs to bite? According to the AVMA, it could be one of the following factors:

  • Stressful or unfamiliar situations: Dogs may react badly if there are a lot of loud noises or other activity that the dog isn’t used to. They can also react badly to overly friendly strangers or even neighbors they don’t know well.
  • Injuries and illness: An otherwise docile dog may snarl or bite if they are injured or sick, or when recovering from an injury.
  • Scary or threatening situations: Arguing, fighting or other disruptions can often cause a dog to bite, particularly if they interpret a threat to themselves or their owners.
  • Roughhousing: Dogs can nip when wrestling or playing tug-of-war. Be careful of overly aggressive play with your dog, and if you have a puppy, train him not to nip during play.

Preventing Dog Bites

While a dog’s bark might be worse than his bite, it’s better to play it safe. According to the National Humane Society, there are a number of indicators that a dog may be about to bite. These include:

  • The dog’s body is tense and its tail is stiff;
  • The dog’s head and ears are pulled back;
  • The brow is furrowed, and the dog’s eyes are rolled back so that the whites are visible;
  • The dog flicks its tongue or yawns; and/or
  • The dog stares intensely or begins backing away as it looks at you.

If you think a dog is about to bite or attack, it’s important to resist the impulse to scream or run.

Remain motionless, with your hands at your sides, and avoid eye contact with the dog. Once the dog loses interest, slowly back away. If the dog does attack, try to feed it the arm of your jacket or your purse to bite, and if you get knocked down, roll into a ball with your hands over your eyes. Again, resist the urge to scream; this will only further antagonize the dog and extend the attack.

Contact Our New Jersey Dog Bite Attorneys

If you or a loved one has been injured as the result of a dog bite or attack, contact The Pearce Law Firm today. Our experienced New Jersey dog bite attorneys can provide you with the kind of aggressive legal representation you need in order to get compensation for your injuries. Call our office today for a free consultation.

You might also be interested in these dog bite settlement examples.

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