Who’s at Most Risk of a Dog Attack?

We usually think of dogs as friendly animals. Many keep a pet around the house for companionship and security. Almost everyone has good memories of canines from their past.

However, it is important to remember that not all dogs will act friendly to us when we approach them. Even the ones we have at home may exhibit undesirable behaviors when provoked. This tends to happen quite frequently all around the world, and the United States is no exception.

According to the CDC, about 4.5 million dog bites happen in the country every year, to roughly 2 percent of the population. Most of these are minor but about 20 percent become infected. This could have serious consequences and lead to a personal injury claim.

Risk Factors

A dog attack can happen to anyone, young and old, rich and poor, men and women. Everyone should be careful when dealing with these animals, whether they are strangers or pets. However, the statistics have found that certain segments of the population tend to get bitten with greater frequency than others. One of the biggest dog attack risk factors is age. Children are much more likely to get bite-related injuries, with those between five and nine years old being the most vulnerable. Their curiosity and lack of experience can put them in danger. Adults should be watchful if the kids are playing with their pets or other dogs.

Men are also more likely to be attacked by dogs than women. This is perhaps because women tend to be more careful and avoid risky behaviors.

More than half of animal-related injuries among travelers are caused by dog bites. Of course, you don’t have to go to a strange place to get bitten. Many of these incidents occur right at home. About 77 percent of them are due to the pets of family members or their friends. About half of the attacks happen within the property of the dog’s owner. We must remember that they are highly territorial; they will protect their turf if they feel they need to.

Prevention Strategies

It is difficult to control dogs, but it is easy to control our own behaviors. The American Veterinary Medical Association has provided several recommendations for those who find themselves around these animals. People are discouraged from approaching unfamiliar dogs.

However, one must also refrain from running from them as they might give chase. Instead, try to remain motionless when they approach. Stay calm and do not make loud noises that could agitate them. Do not pet strange dogs even if they appear to be friendly. Don’t disturb a mother that is caring for puppies or any dog that is eating.  

Dealing with a Dog Attack

If attacked, protect yourself with an object such as a jacket or bag to keep the dog away. If knocked down, curl into a ball and tuck your head in while covering vulnerable areas like the ears and neck with your hands. Wash wounds as quickly as possible with soap and water. Go to a hospital immediately for proper treatment. This will prevent infections and hasten recovery. If you were bitten by another person’s dog, then you may file a suit for damages by working with a dog attack attorney.