If you have a dog or two running around your home, you are not alone. According to the American Veterinary Medicine Association (AVMA), 36.5% of U.S. households have at least one pet dog – an amazing total of almost 70 million dogs!Being a dog owner comes with responsibilities to have the dog trained and socialized to be near both people and other animals. A dog bite or attack can cause not only serious injuries, especially in children, but also emotional and psychological trauma.

Dog Attacks Leave Long-Lasting Damage

About 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs in the U.S. each year – and half of the victims are children ages 5 to 9. A dangerous dog attack can cause serious injuries like lacerations, puncture wounds, nerve damage, strained muscles or strains as well as infection and even death. Victims may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and need long-term mental health treatment.

What to Do if a Dog Attacks

  • Move quickly away from the dog if possible.
  • Call 911 if the situation is dangerous or the injuries are severe.
  • Superficial bites by your own pet can be carefully washed with soap and water and bandaged. Watch for signs of infection like warmth, pus or swelling.
  • See a doctor as soon as possible if the wound is more serious or the dog was not yours. The victim may need antibiotics for a possible infection.
  • Be sure to get information about a strange dog: owner contact information, immunization records, history of attacks. Without valid records the victim may need a series of rabies injections.

Take Steps to Avoid Dog Bites

Attorney James Bendell advises you and your family to keep your distance when encountering a strange dog:

  • Avoid the dog’s personal space like a car or yard.
  • Watch body language closely; steer clear of a dog that is backing away or looks tense.
  • Remain still as running will encourage the dog to chase you.
  • Avoid eye contact and back away slowly.

Be especially careful at home with your own pet, especially with young children:

  • Never leave a young child or baby alone with a dog.
  • Leave the dog alone when sleeping or eating.
  • Teach your child to leave the dog alone when in a sleeping area or crate.
  • Don’t let your child rough-house with your dog like wrestling or taking toys out of its mouth.

Contact Us if You Have Been Injured by a Dog

You may be eligible for compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and emotional pain and counseling if the dog owner is found negligent for a dog attack. It’s important to reach out to an Idaho personal injury attorney for help in a dog bite case. The Bendell Law Firm of Coeur D’Alene has extensive experience in dog attack cases resulting in serious injury to adults and children. Call us at 208-215-2255 or contact us via our website to schedule a free consultation on your case. Dogs may be “man’s best friend” but if they turn on you, you need our help!