Internet searches for “dog attack” in the UK have increased by 125 per cent over the past 12 months.
While a well-trained dog will not run around attacking others, any dog can become aggressive if it is extremely fearful.
Dog attacks may be rare, but they can be dangerous and sometimes fatal.
There are a few important things to know if your pet or a person has been the victim of a dog bite.
dr Heather Venkat, veterinarian specializing in pet medicine, The Compensation Experts has answered some of the most frequently asked questions about dog attacks, including how to avoid your dog attacking someone.
What to do if a dog attacks
If you are attacked by a dog, the first thing you should do is remain calm and see a doctor as soon as possible to have your wounds examined.
When your dog attacks someone, Heather explains, “The number one thing you have to do first is get your dog off of that person.
“Secure your dog as best as you can so it doesn’t come loose again.
“Then you need to make sure the person your dog attacked is okay.
“If your dog bit the person, you must exchange contact information and contact the police or animal control to file a bite report.
“You must follow all animal control rules to quarantine your dog for a period of time after it has attacked someone.”
Who should I report a dog attack to?
If you have been the victim of a dog attack, you should contact the police immediately to make a statement.
Be sure to take photos of the wound right after it occurs and keep medical records and witness statements to support your case.
Will my dog attack anyone?
“Dogs can attack for a variety of reasons,” Heather said. “Once a dog has been trained to be aggressive, it can strike without warning.”
Signs that a dog is uncomfortable and might attack include flat ears, pursed lips, pulling and jumping on the leash when barking, and raised hackles.
“Not every dog growls before attacking, but if your dog growls, it could be a sign that he’s trying to warn a person or another dog,” Heather said.
“If a dog has shown signs of aggression out of fear, you will notice them licking their lips, turning away, or trying to avoid a person or another dog, and you may see more of the whites of their eyes.”
How can I stop my dog from attacking someone?
There are some things you can do to prevent your dog from reacting to his aggression or fear.
“If you think your dog might potentially attack someone, avoid walking them when you know other people will be around,” Heather explained.
“Consider putting a basket muzzle on your dog, which would still allow him to open his mouth to pant and drink, but would prevent him from biting anyone.
“Try to recognize if your dog has certain triggers, such as: B. other dogs, cats, bicycles or cars that could trigger it.
“Make sure your yard fence is high enough to prevent your dog from jumping over and attacking someone.
“Another option is to contact a professional dog trainer so you can work with them to prevent your dog from wanting to attack.
“Anxious aggressive dogs may also be given medications from your veterinarian that can help reduce their anxiety and potentially prevent your dog from attacking someone.”
How do I report a dog attack?
Dog bites can leave both physical and psychological scars, including a lifelong fear of dogs.
Under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, anyone who owns or looks after a dog has a legal obligation to ensure that those around them are protected from attack.
So if you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, talk to your insurance company.
It is important to note that while you can make a claim, it is a very difficult process and you may not always receive compensation as most people are not insured to do so. So it’s worth checking your policy.