What to do if you are attacked by a dog and the warning signs to look out for
Internet searches for ‘dog attack’ in the UK have increased by 125% in the last 12 months.
Although a well-trained dog does not seek to attack others, any dog can become aggressive if extremely frightened.
Dog attacks may be rare, but they can be dangerous and sometimes deadly.
So there are a few important things you need to know if your pet or someone is the victim of a dog bite.
Dr Heather Venkat, Companion Animal Medicine Veterinarian, Compensation Expertshas answered some of the most frequently asked questions about dog attacks, including how to prevent your dog from attacking someone.
What should I do if a dog attacks?
If you are attacked by a dog, the first thing to do is stay calm and seek medical attention as soon as possible to have your injuries checked.
If your dog is attacking someone, Heather explains, “The most important thing to do first is to get your dog away from that person.
“Secure your dog as well as possible to prevent him from coming loose again.
“Next, you’ll need to make sure the person your dog attacked is okay.
“If your dog has bitten the person, you should exchange contact details and contact the police or animal control to file a bite report.
“You must follow all animal control rules to quarantine your dog for a period of time after he attacks someone.”
Who should I report a dog attack to?
If you have been the victim of a dog attack, you should consider contacting the police immediately to make a report.
Be sure to take pictures of the wound right after it occurs and keep medical records and witness statements to support your case.
Will my dog attack someone?
“Dogs can attack for a variety of reasons,” Heather said. “If a dog has been trained to be aggressive, it may strike without warning.”
Signs that a dog is uncomfortable and might attack include: ears pinned back, lips pulled back, pulling and lunging at their leash while barking, and raised back hair.
“Not all dogs will growl before attacking, but if your dog growls it could be a sign that he’s trying to warn a person or another dog,” Heather said.
“If a dog has shown signs of fear aggression, you will notice them licking their lips, turning away, or trying to avoid a person or another dog, and you may see more the whites of his eyes.”
How can I stop my dog from attacking someone?
There are some things you can do to keep your dog from acting out his aggression or fear.
“If you think your dog could potentially attack someone, avoid taking them out when you know other people are going to be around,” Heather explained.
“Consider putting a basket muzzle on your dog, which still allows him to open his mouth to pant and drink, but would prevent him from biting someone.
“Try to recognize if your dog has specific triggers, such as other dogs, cats, bikes or cars that might be triggering them.
“Make sure your garden fence is high enough to prevent your dog from jumping over it and attacking someone.
“Another option is to contact a professional dog trainer so you can work with them to try and stop your dog from wanting to attack.
“Fear-aggressive dogs can also be given medication by your vet that can help reduce their anxiety and potentially prevent your dog from attacking someone.”
How do I report a dog attack?
Dog bites can cause physical and psychological scarring, including a lifelong fear of dogs.
Under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, anyone who owns or cares for a dog has a legal duty to ensure that those around them are safe from attack.
So, if you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, talk to your insurer.
It is important to note that although you can make a claim it is a very difficult process and you may not always get compensation as most people are uninsured for this so it is worth worth double-checking your policy.