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Home > Blog > Personal Injury > Stay Safe This Summer: How to Prevent Dog Bites
by: NPHM | June 30, 2021

Stay Safe This Summer: How to Prevent Dog Bites

Dog bites can result in very serious injuries such as compound fractures, facial lacerations, nerve damage, and deep puncture wounds, not to mention the emotional trauma that often accompanies a dog bite incident. One should seek medical help immediately after a biting incident to reduce the risk of serious complications. Dogs carry harmful infections in their saliva, and their bites can cause transmission of rabies and other diseases.

Luckily, according to a survey done by the Ohio Department of Health, there have been no dog-caused rabies cases in Ohio since 2016, but bites are still prevalent. It is important to be aware of the causes and factors that increase dog bite incidence and how to avoid them to ensure personal safety.

How do dog bite attacks happen and how can you avoid them?

Dogs often bite if they feel threatened or are provoked, and the likelihood of this behavior is increased when a dog interacts with an unfamiliar person. That said, dogs can bite for no apparent reason. Because of dogs’ unpredictability, it is important to keep in mind these tips to avoid a bite attack:

  • Do not provoke other people’s dogs.
  • Do not approach stray dogs or dogs you do not recognize.
  • Do not put your face right next to a dog’s unless it sees you.
  • Do not startle a sleeping dog.
  • Vaccinate pets for rabies and keep vaccinations current.
  • Keep children close (children between the ages 5 and 9 are the most common victims of dog bites).

How often do dog bite incidents occur in Ohio?

According to the Ohio Department of Health, there were 15,358 dog bite incidents reported in Ohio in 2020. Although this number does not seem large in proportion to Ohio’s population, dog bites are the fifth most common reason for someone to go to the emergency room.

What do I do if I get bitten by a dog?

The first and most essential step to take if a dog bites you is to seek medical treatment immediately, because dog bite wounds can be very serious or even fatal. In 2017, Ohio had 4 dog bite-related fatalities (the highest number in any state for that year). Additionally, documenting the wound is an important step to take after being bitten.  Going to a hospital or seeking medical attention provides proof of injury, which is imperative to build a successful case against the dog’s owner if the victim wants to assign liability and receive compensation. You should also report the incident to animal control so the dog can be evaluated for any diseases or behavioral issues. In some cases, a dog will be put down after biting someone. Finally, contact an attorney to build your case against the dog’s owner.

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