Dogs have a definite place in our hearts, and have a well-earned reputation for being loyal, patient, and brave. For many people, their dog is a member of their family. At the same time, animal experts advise us to remember that a dog is an instinctive creature, and at certain times, those instincts put them at direct odds with people. Even the gentlest dog, given the right circumstances, can turn mean and bite or attack. Injuries due to dog bites are common, and can cause serious and potentially life threatening damage. In order to protect yourself, follow our safety precautions to know when a dog is in danger of attacking, and learn what to do if you or someone you love is bitten.

Dog Bite Injuries

In the United States alone, over 4 million people are bitten by dogs each year. Dog bite injuries can range from mild rips or tears to the skin, to more serious injuries involving deep puncture marks, torn muscles and tendons, and extensive damage to the limbs and organs. If a dog bites you in an area where there are lots of blood vessels or arteries – such as the thigh – your injury could be fatal.

In addition to the actual harm caused by the bite itself, there the dangers of infection caused by dog bites. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 5 dog bites become infected, and there are over 60 strains of bacteria present in a dog’s saliva. Infections as a result of dog bite include:

  • Rabies virus;
  • Staph infections;
  • Tetanus; and
  • Bacterial infection.

In addition to the above, dog bites and attacks often result in permanent scarring, leaving victims both physically and emotionally traumatized. Many victims of dog attacks report severe and lingering fears and anxiety associated with the attack, requiring comprehensive therapy and medication.

Preventing Dog Bite Injuries

Any dog can bite and attack when provoked. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) lists the following factors as common causes for dogs to bite or attack: .

  • A dog who is injured may snap if you touch near the sight of the wound.
  • Dogs who feel threatened, or feel their owner is being threatened, will act aggressively to defend and protect themselves and others.
  • Dogs can bite during overly aggressive play. This is common behavior in puppies, and should be addressed right away.
  • A scared dog will act out and bite if backed into a corner.

According to the Humane Society, there are several signs that a dog may be about to bite. While common sense indicates that if a dog is growling or baring its teeth, it’s getting ready to attack, there are other, less obvious signs as well. The dog’s ears and tail may stand straight up, the dog may stare unflinching, or the white of its eyes may be visible. If you encounter a dog showing these signs, don’t scream or yell; this will only provoke the dog to attack. Try to remain calm and back away slowly. If you do get bit, flush the wound thoroughly to prevent infection, and seek medical treatment if your wounds are severe, or if they become red or inflamed.

Contact Our Experienced Florida Personal Injury Attorneys

If you or a loved one is hurt or injured as the result of a dog bite or attack, contact our experienced Florida personal injury attorneys today. At Hogan Frick, with offices in Orlando, Gainesville, Ocala, Kissimmee, and Lakeland, we have experience handling these types of cases, and may be able to help you get compensation for the damages you’ve suffered. Call us today for a free review of your case.