What To Do If A Dog Attacks Your Child?

aggressive dog

The idea of a sudden attack on your child by a dog is a frightening thought. Sadly, dog attacks happen more often than you’d think. The American Veterinary Medical Association shares that more than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year, and over 50% of dog bite victims are children.

What should you do if your child has been hurt by a dog?

The first thing to do if a dog attacks your child is to seek medical attention immediately, even if the wound appears mild. Other steps to take include:

  • Identifying the dog’s owner and obtaining contact information
  • Asking for proof of rabies vaccinations
  • Calling animal control to file a report
  • Photographing your child’s bite injuries
  • Gathering police reports, medical reports, animal control documentation, and contact details for any eyewitnesses to the dog attack (keep copies of everything)
  • Calling an attorney well-versed in personal injury and dog attacks

Additionally, you’ll want to carefully track your child’s injuries and pay very close attention to their overall health. Later on, sometimes issues related to the bite may emerge.

What should I look for when I’m out walking?

Be aware of dogs in the area where you walk, particularly if commonly unleashed or without an owner in sight. Never step foot on any property where a dog is present outside by itself; some dogs are trained to attack when boundaries are crossed. Be conscious of open gates.

Look for a dog’s warning signs and body signals, which include intense staring, snarling, growling, stiff tail, ears pinned back, and obvious teeth showing.

If a dog moves toward me, what should I do?

It’s important to remain calm if a dog moves toward you. Put a barrier between you and the dog if possible, such as a trash can or even an umbrella.

  • Move slowly backward/away or, if needed, stand still
  • Don’t make loud noises or scream
  • Avoid sudden movements
  • Slowly pick your child up
  • Have child curl into a ball for extra body protection
  • Avoid dog’s eye contact

Fight back as a last resort, since this will probably make the dog more aggressive—if you do, aim for eyes or ears.

What should you do if a dog bites you?

In the event you’re bitten by a dog, follow the same steps as if your child was bitten. Seek medical attention ASAP, report the injury, and speak to an attorney specializing in personal injuries.

How do I talk to my child about dogs?

It’s important for children to know even friendly dogs can turn mean if provoked or even unprovoked. Teach them that many dogs are friendly, but it’s important to always be careful and avoid certain behaviors when around dogs and other pets.

What Are Some Preventative Measures You Can Take to Avoid A Dog Attack?

To avoid potential dog bites, educate your child about how to behave around dogs. Teach them never to grab dogs’ tails, take items from their mouths, tease, hit, or try to play “horsey” with them. Let them know to leave sleeping or eating dogs alone. Tell them it’s never OK to go near dogs they don’t know and to be careful around ones they do. Never touch a dog without an owner’s permission.

Have You Experienced a Personal Injury in Phoenix?

Dog attacks are a terrifying and traumatic experience. If you or a loved one have experienced a dog bite, the compassionate legal team at Brad Johnson Injury Law wants to help you. We are available 24/7. Call us at 602-650-1200 for a free evaluation.

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