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A few tips to prevent a potentially painful dog bite

Dogs are great pets when trained properly. When their owners are loving; when they take them out for walks regularly, when they properly socialize the dog; and when they take them to the veterinary clinic to ensure they are healthy; a dog can be a tremendously nice animal.

But under the tutelage of a negligent owner, dogs can be dangerous. They will lack an understanding of boundaries, and they can grow up to be aggressive animals. Furthermore, reckless dog owners often neglect their pet to the point that the animal may not be properly vaccinated against certain diseases.

That means if the animal were to bite an unsuspecting passerby, that victim would need post-exposure treatment for a variety of diseases. A series of painful shots would be necessary, in addition to multiple doctor visits to ensure the victim has not been infected with rabies or other dangerous diseases.

If the victim can prove that the owner was negligent, or if the dog had previously been cited or reported for violent, aggressive behavior, then they could file a civil lawsuit against the owner for the medical bills they racked up.

Considering the significant number of dog bite cases that have required hospitalization recently (up 88 percent in the last 16 years), it is important to protect yourself against dangerous dogs. How does one do that?

Well, if you take a slow, precautionary approach to how you deal with dogs, it can reduce the change of a dog bite incident. For example, some dogs are naturally territorial or aggressive (they are descendants of wild wolves, after all). With that in mind, take your time around dogs you don’t know. Don’t force contact or interaction. Let the dog get used to you before approaching.

Source: Ravalli Republic, “Prevention is the best medicine when it comes to dog bite injuries,” John Holtzen, Jan. 29, 2013

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