Our Port Saint Lucie Dog Bite Lawsuit Firm handles a lot of dog bite cases, unfortunately. This week is National Dog Bite Prevention Week. We’re talking about preventing dog bites to minimize the chances of you becoming a victim.

Some Quick Dog Bite Facts:

  • Children between 1 and 9 years old are at the highest risk of being a victim of a dog bite
  • 86% of dog bites involve children younger than 6 years of age were from dogs known to the family, more than half of them occurring in the home
  • Every year, over 600 Floridians are hospitalized for injuries sustained from dog bites
  • On average, 2 Floridians die from injuries due to dog bites each year
  • More than half of dog bites involving a person over 15 years old occurred when the victim attempted to break up a dog fight
  • The most common cause of dog bites is inappropriate behavior management
  • A third of dog bites occurred while off-leash and off of the owner’s property
  • In 2020, insurance companies paid $853.7 million for 16,991 dog bite and injury claims

Why Do Dogs Bite

The most common reason a dog will bite is as a reaction to something. Stressful situations warrant a reaction such as a bite to defend itself or its territory. Whether they are scared, startled, stressed, not feeling well, or feel threatened, the dog is usually defending itself, not being malicious for the sake of hurting someone. Some dogs will nip or bite while playing roughly, which can be dangerous for people involved.

Preventing Dog Bites

Here are some things you can do for your dog to prevent biting situations:

  • Socializing your dog can help it feel at ease during different situations
  • Using a leash in public helps make sure you can control your dog
  • Proper training, regular exercising, and neutering or spaying your dog
  • Educating your friends and family on how to approach a dog
  • Avoiding risky situations that can cause your dog to react
  • Paying attention to the body language of a dog such as body gestures, postures, and vocalizations

Safety Tips for Dog Owners

Do your research before purchasing or adopting a dog. Get advice from a local veterinarian or animal shelter employee about which dog could be right for your family and your lifestyle. There will be a dog out there for you, you just have to put in some work for it.

Keeping your dog healthy with regular checkups, spaying or neutering your dog, and having up-to-date vaccinations can prevent lingering health issues that could cause your dog to feel unwell and in return react to situations in an unhealthy way. There are several Port Saint Lucie veterinarians that are experienced with great reviews.

Socialization and training are key ways to help you and your dog connect and understand each other. Confining a dog in a fenced-in yard or “dog run” by itself or on a chain for long periods will not help your dog in unfamiliar situations. Socializing your dog regularly with people and other animals will help it feel at ease. Training your dog to obey basic commands like “sit,” “stay,” and “come” are great ways to communicate your needs to your dog.

Safety Tips for Children and Adults

Never allow your child to approach or play with a dog unless an adult is supervising. When you aren’t familiar with a dog, you don’t know any of its social or health histories. In situations where you notice a dog acting strangely, contact Animal Control Services to come help.

If you believe you are able to be attacked by a dog, try to place something between yourself and the dog such as your bag, a bicycle, or a trash can. When a dog knocks you over, roll into a ball, cover your face, and stay still. You should never run from a dog or scream around a dog; this can cause more stress and unwanted behavior or reactions.

Respect a dog’s space and possessions. Don’t look a dog right into the eyes when you meet them, and never disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies. Dogs can be very possessive and react to you as though you are threatening them.

What to do When Bitten by a Dog

If you’ve been bitten by a dog and are in immediate need of assistance, call 9-1-1. To take care of your injuries yourself, control the bleeding and wash the area of the bite with soap and water. Visit an Urgent Care, Emergency Room, or your Primary doctor to determine what next steps you need to take to keep yourself healthy.

We suggest you report the bite to your local county health department, animal control agency, or police department. If the injury is bad enough or you feel as though the owner of the dog was negligent, seek a personal injury attorney with a history of dog bite cases.

Contacting Port Saint Lucie Dog Bite Attorney

Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney has handled many cases regarding dog bites in St Lucie County, Martin County, and Okeechobee County over the 40 years in business. We are always available for a free consultation. You can call us at 772-286-1000 and speak with our attorney about your situation.

Statistics and facts were pulled from the Florida Department of Health, American Veterinary Medical Association, the Insurance Information Institute, and the National Dog Bite Prevention Coalition.