Dog Bite Prevention and Warning Signs
Two months ago, we posted a blog announcing Dog Bite Prevention Week, and its intention to educate the public and raise awareness of the importance of preventing dog bites. As we’ve mentioned in other posts, even the gentlest dogs can bite. This is especially true if they are either mentally or physically unhealthy, in pain for any reason, or scared.
Dog bite incidents resulting in hospitalization have nearly doubled in the last 15 years. While the media seems to focus on certain breeds, these incidents arise from all breeds of dog, from all walks of life. Dr. Ron DeHaven from the American Veterinary Medical Association points out that “to reduce the number of dog bites, it’s important to understand dog behavior.”
DeHaven stresses that it’s also important to understand how dogs interpret human behavior. He claims that the most common scenarios that lead to a dog bite are unattended infants or children being left with dogs, and running with a dog. A highly probable reason for this is because in both of these situations, the dog’s behavior and body language is not being observed, and the dog may feel threatened or scared by a persons’ body language, even if no harm is present.
With this in mind, it’s imperative that dog owners always be aware of their dog’s behavior when around people outside, and guests in the home (especially children). While every dog is different, the following are some common warning signs to watch out for, that canine behavioral experts say are indicators that a dog might bite.
- Direct eye contact from the dog
- Nervously wagging tail, down between legs
- The dog has his or her front legs apart and chest thrown out (the dog is trying to look big)
- Low rumbling growl
- Showing front teeth
Generally speaking, a dog is not going to bite unless they feel it’s a last resort or they are provoked. It’s important to understand that being “provoked”, however, may mean something as simple as having their tail accidentally stepped on by a small child, being hugged too tightly, or being startled by a child jumping at or on them.
Your dog may have never bitten a person before, and may not seem to have a single aggressive trait, but all dogs can bite, whether it’s out of fear or even over-exuberant playfulness. In fact, even an accidental scratch from a dog could lead to an expensive medical bill. This is why it’s important that all dog owners obtain Dog Bite Liability Insurance.
F.I.D.O., the Federation of Insured Dog Owners, Inc. offers the Covered Canine Policy, an exclusive product and benefit for F.I.D.O. members only that specializes in Dog Bite Liability Insurance programs that will protect you should your dog bite an individual and cause harm. It does not exclude any breed of dog and starts as low as $75 per dog, per year. To learn more about our policies and what to do if ever faced with a dog bite claim, please visit our Claim Info page and contact us at (855) 534-6495.