Dog Bites -- The Ultimate in Dog Aggression
by S. WilliamsDog aggression is a serious problem. Every year thousands of people are injured or killed in a dog attack. Millions of dollars are spent annually on treatment for dog bites from aggressive dogs. This article will give you information on how to avoid being bitten and what to do if you are bitten.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, $317.2 million was issued in claims for dog bites and dog attacks in the year 2005. That is a lot of money, but more importantly, that is a lot of trauma and pain.
Dog attacks and bites that are reported occur about 4.5 million times a year per reports of the CDC. That is a staggering figure, but there are approximately 75 million dogs in the US as pets so the number becomes more believable.
Here are some ways to prevent being a statistic and what to do if you become one.
Who are the most likely victims of a dog attack or other form of dog aggression? Children are the primary victims in dog attacks. Unfortunately, small children don't understand that all dogs are not friendly. They also don't understand that quick, unpredictable movements can cause a dog bite.
Adults also can be the victims of attacks when they forget those two facts also. However, we adults believe that we "can handle" dogs so we show less fear and can forget that dogs are animals and will act like an animal when frightened, hurt, afraid, or hungry. Women make up a large percentage of the number of dog bites in adults. Women are smaller, more hesitant, and can be seen as vulnerable to an aggressive dog.
What to do if confronted by an aggressive dog:
1. First and foremost, in preventing an attack you must avoid contact with strange or unfamiliar animals. As I said before, not every dog is friendly and not every dog wants to be touched.
2. If a confrontation appears imminent, do not move or make any noise at all. Movement of any type can be perceived as threatening to a fearful dog and will cause an attack.
3. Avoid making eye contact with the aggressive dog. In the animal world, a direct stare is interpreted as a challenge and can provoke an attack.
4. If all of the above fails and the aggressive dog lunges at you, roll yourself into as tight a ball as possible making sure to cover your head, neck and face with your hands and arms. Tuck your chin into your chest to give more protection to the soft tissue at your throat.
5. Lie perfectly still, even if the dog is biting you. Stay tucked as tight as possible and remain as calm as you can. If you are in a public place, it is possible that help will arrive shortly. If you are in an isolated place, you want the dog to lose interest in you by being very still. Once it appears that the dog is satisfied that you are no longer a threat, it may move away on its own. Only when that occurs do you want to unfold and go for help.
What to do if you are bitten by an aggressive dog:
Always, in any skin break incident, get the wound as clean as possible. This doesn't mean you have to scrub the area, but you do need to have running water applied to the area for a lengthy period. The movement of the water will draw bacteria and particles out of the wound and leave it clean. If water is not available, wipe the area clear of debris and dirt, use whatever you have available to try to cleanse the wound.
Try to stop the bleeding quickly by applying a tourniquet if necessary.
Apply any first aid that is available--topical antibiotic ointment, bandages, etc.
Seek medical attention as soon as possible. Dog bites are serious and can be fatal.
Additional complications from dog bites:
There are several potential threats besides the actual wound itself. Once the skin is broken, the body's protective covering is infiltrated by all different types of organisims. These are all around us daily and cannot be avoided, however they are going to take advantage of a "way into" your body once the skin is torn.
A dog bite puts you at risk of both a Staph and a Strep infection. Both will require medical attention and intervention. Both organisms are dangerous and can cause permanent and serious problems.
Another issue to consider is the potential for tetanus to enter the bloodstream. We all forget about getting our shots on time as adults, and this is one shot you will want to get soon if you cannot remember when you last had one.
The final additional complication is the advent of rabies in an aggressive dog or animal. If the dog is not captured or identified, you will want to be treated for the possibility of acquiring rabies. Fortunately, the treatment has improved over the years and is not quite as traumatic as it once was.
Dog bites are not trivial incidents. Of the 4.5 million bites a year, 800,000 will require medical attention and approximately 31,000 will require reconstructive surgery. There are at least 12-20 dog bite deaths per year. So, don't take dog aggression lightly. Learn how to protect yourself and your loved ones.