Dogs are companions, playmates and best friends for many Washington residents. Unfortunately, dogs can also bite, causing nerve damage, severe pain and put victims at risk for illness, infections and diseases due to germs. At Elk & Elk Co., Ltd, we have experience representing clients injured as a result of a dog bite. 

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, more than 800,000 people require medical attention for dog bites each year. The majority of victims are young children, and the bites occur while interacting with dogs familiar to them. There are steps dog owners can take that help to minimize the risk and prevent dog bites. 

Introduce your dog to people and other pets while he or she is still a puppy. This helps them feel more at ease in a variety of situations as it gets older. Use a leash when in public to help ensure you can control the dog around strangers, crowds and noise. 

Be a responsible pet owner. This includes selecting the breed that is right for your family, training them, frequent exercise and spaying or neutering your pet. Educate yourself and your family about whether to approach an unfamiliar dog. 

Avoid dogs in risky situations, such as the following: 

  • While sleeping or eating 
  • When injured or sick 
  • If playing with a toy 
  • When barking or growling 
  • If a mom is anxious about or resting with her puppies 

Pay attention to a dog’s body language. It can give clues as to whether he or she is safe to approach. Keep your distance if the dog appears frightened, threatened or stressed. Visit our webpage for more information on this topic.