Dog owners have responsibility to keep pet safe

Next week is Dog Bite Prevention Week, making now an opportune time to reflect a bit on ways we can make ourselves and our families better protected from dog attacks. Roughly 4.7 million dog bites occur nationally each year, leaving some victims only with wounds and perhaps some lingering fears. Other victims are not so lucky.

Most people are aware that certain types of dogs are more associated with dog bites than others. Cocker Spaniels, for instance, are known for producing the most bites, whereas Rottweilers, pitbulls and German Shepherds are blamed for the highest rate of bite-related fatalities. Many dogs, however, are capable of doing serious or fatal damage to their victims, under the right circumstances.

What can we do to make ourselves safer from such attacks? Onions differ as to what should be done in cases of sever aggression. Some say that ignoring an aggressive dog and looking away will get them to leave 90 percent of the time, but others say that a dog set on attacking will attack regardless of the behavior of the target. In less serious cases, where a dog is simply growling, ignoring the animal may prove successful. In any case, experts agree that it is wise not to pet a dog you don’t know and whose owner is not around. When the owner is present, it is safer.

Owners, of course, have the responsibility to ensure that their animal does no harm to others. They should ensure their dog is properly trained and treated for simple things like dandruff, allergies, rashes and dietary issues. These latter problems can impact a dog’s behavior more than one might assume. Dogs are also sensitive to their environment and their owner’s attitude, particularly body language. Minor changes in these things, for better or for worse, can have positive or negative impacts on

Owners that fail to see to the safety of their dog can contribute to significant injuries for attack victims. In such cases, victims may have no other choice but to seek compensation in a personal injury suit.

Source: Stacey Page Online, “Tips For Preventing Dog Bites,” May 10, 2013