Children are typically raised to appreciate the love and companionship of “man’s best friend.” Although most dogs will not bite unless provoked, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that dog bites have been the eleventh leading cause of injury to children since 2010. Over two million bites to children are reported annually. These sobering statistics should encourage parents to educate their children on safety tips and how to interpret dog behaviors.
Understanding Canine Body Language
The most important element of dog safety is education. When children are educated about canine body language and behavior, they tend to pay more attention to a dog’s subtle cues. Teach your child to always practice caution when approaching a dog’s personal space, taking care not to sneak up on or startle her. As dogs use their sense of smell for recognizing friend or foe, teach children to always let a dog sniff them first.
Behavioral hints that a dog feels threatened include:
- An intense stare may indicate that a dog is determining whether or not you are a threat.
- Flattened ears – a physical expression of threat or insecurity with the situation.
- Eyes that appear larger than normal may indicate that the dog is uncomfortable and assessing danger.
- Bared teeth and wrinkled muzzle – a dog’s way of letting you know he is getting ready to defend himself.
- Tail flagging – when a dog stiffens her tail and waves it from side to side it may signal an intent to attack.
- Raised spinal fur may indicate that the dog feels threatened or nervous.
Educating children to understand these physical cues is your first line of defense in preventing dog bites in children.
A child’s natural instinct is to approach a dog quickly and loudly. Many children adore animals, and without understanding a dog’s need for space, children often invade that space. Because of their small stature, 66% of dog bite injuries to children are to the head and neck. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported 28,500 reconstructive surgeries resulting from aggressive dog bites in 2014.
- Teach children to never disturb or startle a dog that is sleeping, eating, or chewing on a treat or toy.
- Teach children to always notice if a dog is alone or with an owner.
- Never leave a child alone with a dog.
- Teach children to never run past a dog.
- Always research different breed traits and responsibilities involved with getting a new dog.
Jeffrey H. Penneys, Esq. – Dog Attack Lawyer
Every 27 minutes someone seeks medical attention for a dog bite injury. If you or your child has been bitten or attacked by a dog, you have rights. Jeffrey Harlan Penneys, Esq. is Pennsylvania’s BEST dog bite attorney, and he knows how to help you receive the compensation you deserve. Our law firm has successfully represented clients in even the most complex dog bite cases. With extensive knowledge of Pennsylvania’s dog bite laws, our legal team will work tirelessly on your behalf. Compensation awarded may cover medical bills, transportation costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and reconstructive surgery. Contact Philadelphia’s dog bite lawyer, Jeffrey Harlan Penneys, Esq. today.