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Now that spring is here, more and more Seattle residents are hitting the streets and enjoying outdoor activities such as walking, running, biking, and for children – playing outside.

Now is a good time for a reminder about the potential for dog bites.

Although dog attacks are rare, they can be extremely dangerous. A vicious dog can cause serious injuries to adults and especially children.

Not all dog attacks can be prevented – but some can, especially when you are aware of signs that a dog is about to attack. Here are some warning signs to be aware of:

  • The dog is making direct eye contact with you
  • The dog’s tail is wagging stiffly
  • The dog’s ears are up
  • The dog is growling
  • The dog is aggressively barking
  • The dog is showing its teeth

If you know a dog attack is about to happen, what can you do? If possible, find an object to shove into the dog’s mouth, such as a purse or bag. Keep doing this if the dog continues to try to bite.

If bitten by a dog, try not to panic or fight back. This could make the dog more aggressive and likely to continue. Instead, try to find an object to stick into the dog’s mouth.

When in doubt, assume that a dog is not friendly. It’s never a good idea to approach or pet a strange dog. Even if a dog has no history of biting, they can still attack.

If you or your child has been bitten, it is important to see a doctor. Even minor dog bites can lead to serious infections.

Victims of dog attacks should be aware of their legal rights. Compensation may be available to cover all medical and other expenses related to the attack. It is advisable to talk to an attorney to learn about those options.