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3 Tips to Reduce Your Dog Bite Liability as a Property Owner

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Originally Published September 13th, 2021 by Leslie S.

Dogs are best friends to many. A record number of families have brought dogs home since the beginning of the pandemic. While the increase in companionship is priceless, dog bites and related injuries have also increased. Here are some ways to help prevent being injured by a dog.

Approaching and petting dogs:

  • Always ask the dog’s guardian for permission to approach a dog
  • Do not approach a dog that is:
    • Sleeping, eating, chewing, on toy or bone, or caring for puppies
    • Growling or barking
    • Not on a leash
    • Unfamiliar with you
  • Approach dogs slowly to avoid startling them
  • Use caution when petting:
    • A dog’s head, face, belly, or feet, as they can be sensitive areas
    • A dog who is behind a fence or in a car, as they may be protective of their space

Warning signs a dog may be anxious or afraid:

  • Ears are flattened or up and forward
  • Licking of the lips
  • Showing teeth, growling, or barking
  • Yawning
  • Cowering
  • Tail tucked between legs or straight up
  • Whale eyes (showing a lot of the whites of the eyes)
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Raised hair on the back of the neck and/or tail

How to help prevent your dog from biting:

  • Spay or neuter your dog
  • Go through dog training
  • Include them in your family, not isolated or left alone for long periods of time
  • When out and about, keep your dog on a leash
  • If your dog shows signs of fear or anxiety, remove them from the situation
  • Reward good behavior with treats
  • Supervise your dog—don’t leave them alone with children or a baby
  • Keep current on regular veterinary care, licensing, and vaccinations

Dogs communicate when they are happy and when they are unsure or afraid. Keep these tips in mind next time you encounter a dog to help keep everyone safe.

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