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What You Need to Know About Dog Bites
More than 350,000 people go to the emergency room each year to be treated for dog bites. According to the Centers for Disease Control, roughly 4.5 million people are bitten every year. While most of those injuries are minor, many serious ones do happen. It can be even more dangerous when a child is attacked; a young person’s face and neck is well within reach of a canine’s teeth, and a bite there can leave severe and permanent damage.
Much of the time, an animal will attack because it feels trapped when admirers move in too closely. Before becoming dangerous, it may demonstrate that it doesn’t want to be bothered. Behavior such as licking its lips, yawning and walking away are signs it wants to be left alone.
If a dog is running after you, is baring its teeth or growling loudly, chances are it is thinking about biting you. Another less obvious way you can tell a pet has become agitated, and that you may be in danger, is from the animal’s posture. The hair on its back may rise, its legs may stiffen, and the ears may lie back against its head or point forward. If you are in this situation, knowing what to do next could save you some trauma.
To avoid aggravating the dog further, fight the instinct to run and instead try to remain calm. Stand still with your feet together and arms in an X position across your chest. Experts recommend avoiding eye contact, and instead looking down and to one side. If it loses interest and walks away, you will be able to retreat. If, despite your efforts the dog still charges you and knocks you to the ground, lie face down with your forearms over your ears and your wrists over your neck.
If you could not stop the bite from happening, be sure to take proper care of the wound. If it is a very minor one, it can be treated at home. Clean it immediately by running it under warm water for several minutes. If it isn’t bleeding on its own, you can squeeze the wound to encourage it: the blood will help clean out bacteria. More serious bites should be seen by a medical professional to help prevent infection. If you see redness or swelling at the site, contact a doctor immediately.
Despite its regular behavior, even the friendliest dog can bite. Be aware of the signs that indicate an animal is becoming agitated so that you can step away before an attack occurs. If you can’t stop it and end up getting hurt, you’ll need to carefully clean and care for the wound to protect it from becoming infected.
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Eric is an experienced legal advisor. You can find his thoughts at Weebly blog.
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