5 tips to help you avoid a dog bite injury | Guy S. DiMartino DC, JD, PA

Every year there are thousands of folks injured in dog bites. No matter how lovable our dogs can be, they are still animals and sometimes act unpredictable. Our dog may be fine around our children but when a neighbor comes over, he/she just might not like the child. Maybe it’s the child’s behavior, scent or energy – and the next thing you know the child or visitor or postman has been attached. Here are five simple tips that can help prevent dog bite injuries:

  1. It is best to wait until your children are at least four years old to have a dog. Toddlers are very unpredictable and when you mix that with a dog, who can also be unpredictable it can set up a catastrophic event.
  2. Pay attention to the dog’s body language. Generally, dogs will let you know when they are not happy. They will put their ears back, crouch, sometimes growl and sometimes their hair will stand-up. Many times after the bite occurs, the victim says I should have known it. The dog was acting different.
  3. If it looks like the dog is going to attack you don’t scream or run away. If the dog starts charging,use your body as protection and if you have an object like a jacket, purse, or pack back, you the object to deflect the dog.
  4. If it looks like the dog is going to attack, do not run away or make quick movements. Put your hands in your pocket and stay still and the dog may lose his attention. Once the dog loses his attention, slowly walk away from the situation.
  5. If you happen to get hurt. Make sure you clean the wounds and get attention. You do not want the area to get infected. Over the years, I have seen folks think everything is going to be okay and within 3 days they are hospitalized with a huge infection. Also, make sure you contact animal control because you want to make sure the dog is up-to-date on his/her shots.

In Florida, there is a statute which makes a dog owner strictly liable for injuries caused by their dog, if the victim was where they were allowed to be – not a trespasser. Click here to read about Leesburg dog bite claims. Because the law holds dog owners strictly liability for injuries, a number of insurance companies have excluded dog bite claims in their homeowner’s and rental insurance policies. So the best bet, is to follow the steps above and avoid a dog bite in the first place.