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man holding puppy (dog bite blog)

Owning a dog is a great responsibility, but also a great joy. Many people are now choosing to adopt dogs in place of having children. We have coined phrases like “dog mom” or “fur baby” to describe a person who owns a dog. But with the joys of adopting a dog comes the responsibility of making sure the dog does not bite.

Despite how well a dog might be trained, they still have animal instincts deep inside their DNA. All it takes is one bad moment for those instincts to be triggered and activated. Dog bites, no matter the level of severity, can be extremely dangerous.

Any size of a dog bite can quickly become infected. Think about all the germs a dog can pick up in a day. From running around outside, being around other animals, etc. An infected bite can lead to so much more medically. Not only this, sometimes when a dog bites a human, it is deemed too aggressive and is put down. This can be devastating for the family who owned the dog.

How often does this happen?

The Centers for Disease Control reports an average 4.7 million dog bites annually in the United States. Of those 4.7 million, 17% of those bites result in medical attention needing to be sought. At first, that 17% may not seem like a large number. However, what if you were a part of that 17%? What if a dog bit your small child? That 17% then becomes a real statistic to you. Knowledge is the best way to avoid one of these harmful attacks, so let’s take a look at the reasons why dogs bite.

Why do dogs bite?

Most of the time, dogs will bite in response to stressful situations, or times when they feel threatened. Some dogs may bite in order to protect their puppies or owners. Even the most obedient dogs will growl if you come near them while eating, because dogs are wired to protect their food and what is theirs.

Dogs can have bad days just like humans. Simply feeling unwell can give them a reason to bite. It is also common for dogs to bite playfully when roughhousing, therefore it is important to educate young children not to be rough with dogs. Dogs may not understand to be gentler with children. Being aware and knowledgeable about these situations will better protect you, your children and your dog, if you’re an owner.

Take precautions.

As an owner, you should ensure your dog is well-trained before heading out in public. Especially if it is a situation where small children may be present. Kids don’t always know that every dog is not a nice puppy. And unfortunately, parents aren’t watching their kids all the time. It would benefit you as an owner to train your dog well and keep them close by on a leash when out in public.

A lot of times when a dog bites, it does not end well for the dog, even if it is the first time the dog has bitten. If you see someone approaching your dog, whether a child or adult, make sure you are watching your dog and observing their behavior. Any kind of unsettling environment could add an edge to your dog’s behavior, resulting in a dog bite.

Prevention tips.

  • Do not make loud noises
  • Do not run away quickly in panic
  • If attacked, try to get into the fetal position, protecting your neck and head
  • Do not approach a dog with puppies
  • Do not make direct eye contact with a dog you do not know

Helpful Information

While this may seem a bit overwhelming, there are plenty of great resources available for you and your family to better arm yourself with knowledge. One of these resources is FluentWoof, a website dedicated to giving dog moms and dads knowledge and guidance so they can better know their pups.

This article written by Dr. Libby Guise has plenty of information regarding dog bites, including warning signs, what to do after a bite, infection risks, and much more. Having this abundance of information at hand could be beneficial to you and your family should the unfortunate accident of a dog bit ever happen.

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Following these tips as an owner or as a bystander can greatly increase your chance of safety and help you avoid dog bites.


Gerling Law is a leading personal injury law firm dedicated to providing aggressive legal representation to individuals and their families.  With over 50 years of experience, Gerling Law has helped thousands of people in Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky recover hundreds of thousands of dollars in a wide variety of personal injury and consumer protection cases, including trucking accidents, wrongful death, medical malpractice, nursing home negligence and social security disability. Gerling Law takes pride in the fact that we have never represented insurance companies, hospitals or large corporations and that we fight against powerful companies for our clients.

If you need an experienced, dedicated personal injury lawyer, Gerling Law is here to help.  You can always reach us at 888-GERLING (888-437-5464) or through our website at www.gerlinglaw.com.

Author Photo

Gayle Gerling Pettinga

Born and raised in Evansville, Gayle is a respected, experienced lawyer and a valued community leader. She graduated near the top of her class at Indiana University’s prestigious Maurer School of Law. She’s practiced law with one of the largest firms in Indianapolis as well as one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. And that means she knows how big law firms and big companies think and how they operate – and she will put that knowledge to work for you.

Gayle has received numerous awards and honors including Martindale-Hubbell — Peer Review Rated: AV®, American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys 10 Best Attorneys in Indiana for Exceptional and Outstanding Client Service, and YWCA Evansville 100 Years, 100 Women Honoree, 2011.

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