Dog bites are very common in Saint Petersburg. Dogs are a lot of fun, and they have a way of becoming part of the family. It has often been said that a dog is man’s best friend. That signifies a special relationship between people and their pets. No matter how special the relationship, or how good the pet, there is always a chance that a pet will hurt someone.
As a matter of fact, statistics show that more than four million people around the country suffer from a dog bite each year. Dogs that bite often have never bitten before and never showed any aggressive tendencies. A good portion of those bitten are children.
Here are some tips to help prevent a dog from biting one of your children:
Teach your children to never approach a dog they don’t know. Most children love animals, and are too fast to approach and try to pet a dog they don’t know. Make sure they know to ask the owner if it is safe to approach the dog before they actually do it.
Show them how to let a dog sniff their hand before they begin to touch the dog. This is the preferred way for a dog to begin to feel comfortable with a person. If the dog can get to know your child by smell, he is less likely to bite when your child does pet him.
Make sure to tell your child what warning signs some dogs give before they bite. Most often a dog will growl, and maybe bare its teeth before it actually bites. Children need to be taught that this is a warning signal not to approach the dog, and not to touch the dog.
Tell your children not to move too fast around a dog. The dog may startle easily and be more likely to bite as a defensive action.
Point out a dog’s protective instinct. It goes beyond protecting the people the dog is with. It includes protecting the dog’s food, toys, snacks, and territory. That means that when a person, child or adult, is seen as a threat by the dog to any of those things, the dog may act aggressively.
Show your child the proper way to pet a dog, to prevent dog bites. Down the head and neck and down the body. Most dogs do not like being petted against the natural growth of their fur, and prefer to be petted smoothly down the back. Many dogs also like to have their bellies rubbed, but not roughly or quickly.
Whether you own a dog in St. Petersburg or elsewhere, you owe it to your children to help them not be the victim of a dog bite. Sometimes, though, no matter how safety conscious you are or how many precautions you take, your child may still be bitten. If that happens, make sure you do all you can to protect the health of your child. Of course, you should call the authorities to report it, but there may be more you can do beyond that.
Talk to a personal injury attorney to see if you have just cause to pursue legal action if your child was bitten by a dog, or in any situation involving dog bites.