Beebe and O'Neil

How to lower your risk of being bitten by a dog

Pet owners in Connecticut may be surprised to learn that over half of the reported dog bite attacks in the United States actually come from familiar dogs, not strange or unknown dogs. That doesn’t mean that all house dogs are going to bite the people living with them, but it does mean that owners should take steps to lower their risk of provoking a bite.

The Humane Society states that it is important to carefully watch the body language of the dog in question before attempting to interact with it, even if it’s familiar. Keep an eye out for signs such as intense staring, a still tail, yawning or backing away. A person should also always allow a dog to approach them first before petting, and should be mindful of what the dog is doing before they touch it. For example, if it is sleeping or taking care of puppies, it might be more likely to bite.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that there are also actions that can be taken if a dog has become agitated and seems like it may attack. The first is to stay entirely still and not run or scream. Turning to the side can also reduce the appearance of hostility, as can preventing direct eye contact with the dog.

Simply paying attention to body language and knowing how to appear less intimidating or threatening to a dog might be all the protection that’s needed. As long as a person can avoid agitating a dog or making it feel as though it needs to defend itself or attack, the chances of being bitten lower drastically.

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