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The Dangers of Puppy Love: Dog Bites


What do 4.5 million Americans have in common?  Dog bites; this is the number of people bitten by dogs each year and half of these Americans are ages 5 to 9.  By understanding why dogs bite people and the proper way to approach dogs, you can help prevent dog bites from occurring.

Reasons Dogs May Bite

Dogs never bite without a reason.  Here are some common reasons dogs bite people:

  • They are protecting something valuable (like puppies, food, water, or toys)
  • They are protecting their owner(s)
  • If the dog is a herding breed, it may nip at people to “herd” them
  • They are frightened because a person is coming at them quickly and/or making a lot of noise
  • They are frightened because a person is in their face
  • They are engaged in rough-housing with a person and get overly excited playing

Ways to Approach Dogs

One of the most effective ways to prevent dog bites is to know how to properly approach a dog.

  • Turn sideways and don’t look directly into the dog’s eyes
  • Don’t reach out to pet the dog; let the dog approach you and smell you
  • Do not use a high-pitched voice when talking to the dog and say as little as possible
  • Never approach a dog without asking the owner’s permission
  • Calmly pet the dog if they don’t show any signs of being nervous or tense
  • Don’t get the dog riled up, it makes it hard for the dog’s owner to control the dog

Ways to Prevent Your Dog from Biting Others

The most effective way to prevent dogs from biting others is to properly train them with the basic commands like sit, stay, come, and leave it.  Other ways to ensure that your canine friend isn’t a danger include:

  • Not allowing your dog to roam off the leash in public
  • Exposing your dog to other dogs, other animals, and people gradually and in short amounts of time so they don’t get overwhelmed
  • Making sure your dog’s vaccines are always up to date
  • Remember that a dog’s behavior is a result of its owner’s training

What to Do if You’re Bitten

If you are ever bitten by a dog, here are the things you should do:

  • If it’s a dog you know nothing about or if the wound won’t stop bleeding, contact your doctor immediately
  • Gently apply pressure with a clean towel to stop the bleeding
  • Keep the wound elevated if you can
  • Wash the bite (once it has stopped bleeding) with soap and warm water
  • Cover the wound with a clean bandage
  • Apply antibiotic ointment to the wound on a daily basis to protect the wound from infection
  • Contact a personal injury lawyer that’s experienced with dog-bites

If you decide to get a dog for your loved ones this Valentine’s Day, make sure that they properly train the dog.  Instead of worrying about dog bites, your loved ones will be able to focus on bonding with the new family member.

If you’ve been bitten by a dog because of the owner’s negligence, contact Colley & Colley law firm in Tyler, Texas for a free consultation.  We’re dedicated to providing you with the best legal counsel in East Texas.