Dogs have become increasingly popular in recent years. Although they have always been one of the most desirable companion animals in the United States, there has been a massive uptick in dog ownership recently. Unfortunately, more dogs out on the streets and running around the local dog parks also means a greater risk of people getting bit by unsafe animals.
With the number of dog owners on the rise comes the rise in number of dog bite attacks. This is a concern, especially for parents. Children often suffer severe injuries if they are attacked by a dog. In 2020, there was a 10% increase in the number of dog bite repair plastic surgery procedures performed when compared with 2019.
With researchers indicating that dog bite rates may remain higher than normal for some time, medical professionals predict many more children will likely require medical treatment, including reconstructive surgery, as well. How can you protect yourself and your children?
Identify known risk factors
Currently, your risk of getting bit is higher than it was just a few years ago. Not only are there more dogs than there were before, many of them were not properly socialized or trained because of restrictions in place when they were young. These animals can easily become aggressive when encountering children in public spaces or when their schedules change, possibly because their owner has returned to working from the office.
Minimizing your exposure to other people’s animals is a good starting point. Places where there will be unrestrained animals are obviously more dangerous than the average public space. Dog parks and even parks where dogs should be on leashes are home to a significant number of dog bites every year. Dogs can also injure people when they get off of leashes in other public spaces or get out of enclosed yards.
You can’t avoid every place that a dog might be, but you can keep track of the households near your home that seem to have aggressive dogs or poor fencing. Avoiding those particular houses when out for a walk with your child or your own pet could help protect you.
Be ready to act if a dog turns aggressive
The sad truth is that no matter how many preventative measures you take, someone you love could still suffer an injury caused by a vicious animal. When you know about animal body language and self-defense, you will be in a better position to defend yourself or others from an aggressive animal.
After a dog bite attack, your family should seek legal assistance to get help with medical expenses and to hold the owner responsible.