If you were to take a wild guess, how many dogs do you think currently exist in the United States? 10 million? 30 million?
Try… approximately 80 million. At last count, it was estimated that 47% of households in the U.S. had at least one canine companion, and every year, the overall number of furry friends increases. That sure is a lot of balls being fetched, bellies being scratched, and more love and affection than most of us can even imagine.
Most of these dogs are completely safe. You can play with them, pet them, run with them, and all sorts of fun things. Unfortunately, there are approximately 4.5 million dog bites each year in the U.S., ranging from mild to (very rarely) fatal. This is why exercising caution around dogs isn’t just a good idea, as the title of this blog suggests, but absolutely essential.
What can you do to continue enjoying these incredible animals while keeping yourself and your loved ones safe? Start by heeding a few quick tips that we’ve compiled for you.
Never Assume That a Dog Is Friendly
Even as adults, animal lovers absolutely light up when they see a dog being walked by its owner. We all want to run up and pet the dog, to show him or her the attention we know that it craves. But just like people, not every dog is friendly and assuming as much could put you into a dangerous situation. Some dogs don’t like being approached by people they’re not familiar with, while others become easily scared, which could lead to aggression. If the dog is being walked, ask the owner for permission, but still be ready for aggression, just in case.
Be Especially Mindful When You Have a Dog, Too
Millions of times a day, two dog owners out walking their dogs meet each other. The problem is that many dogs don’t like strange animals, so you never know how their dog – or even your own – is going to react. Very often, it starts off friendly enough, with each dog sniffing each other as a kind of “hello.” But this greeting can quickly turn into aggression, even with the friendliest of canines… and you could find yourself bitten in the ensuing chaos.
Don’t Let the Size Fool You
Logically, many people would probably be more hesitant to approach a large dog than a small one. After all, smaller breeds are just so cute and harmless, right? Well… yes and no. While we hate to point fingers, the truth is that smaller types like the Dachshund and Chihuahua repeatedly show up in rankings of “most aggressive dog breeds.” Larger breeds clearly have the capacity to cause more harm, but in the case of a tendency to bite or attempt to bite, size does not matter (you knew we had to sneak that in somewhere).
Be Aware of a Dog’s Anxiety
It is very easy for even the friendliest, most loving dog to become frightened or anxious and lash out aggressively. A couple of years back, a friend was trying to comfort his medium-sized dog on July 4th by moving him to another room. As you can imagine, the fireworks going off outside were causing the dog stress. This animal had never shown any sign of aggression whatsoever, but he was so scared by the noise that he lashed out and bit his owner. This friend had nerve damage that took months to heal and could have resulted in the loss of mobility in part of his hand. So, even if your dog is “just the sweetest animal you’ll ever meet”, be aware that a scared animal may hurt you unintentionally.
When they occur, dog bites are serious business. They can result in thousands of dollars in medical bills, lost wages, and a great deal of pain and recovery time. Liability can be a bit tricky, but Mintz Law Firm has become well-versed in what it takes to bring a dog bite lawsuit to court and successfully obtain a fair settlement that tackles all of those issues. Give us a call today and we’ll get started on your case right away.