Dealing with dog bite incidents

Beware of dog sign on gate

Most dogs are protective of their home, and a whole lot of barking ensues when stranger (or simply guests) arrive at your door. However, if they become aggressive and start biting, this is cause for further action. We look at why dogs bite, what happens when a dog bites another person, the most popular place dogs tend to bite and what you can do to help prevent attacks.

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Dog in garden

Dog attacks on postmen up 10% in summer

It’s a peaceful scene: a bright summer’s day to potter around in the garden, stoking up the barbecue with a cold beer while the dog amuses your children or grandchildren.

Unfortunately, those relaxing days can have an abrupt end for dog owners: in the summer time, dog attacks on postmen and women go up 10% as we adopt an outdoor lifestyle. If this happens to you, you could face a claim for compensation from the injured person.

German Shepherd baring teeth

Why dog attacks happen around the home

Recent research by Royal Mail found that 27% of dog owners have left their front or back door open while a pet is roaming the house. Around 36% of dog attacks happen at the front door, while a further 35% happen in front gardens.

It’s not only poorly trained or aggressive dogs who attack. From a dog’s perspective, your home is a safe place which should be protected from intruders. Even the gentlest dog can bite if they think someone is a threat to their owner, and unfortunately dogs do not recognise postal uniforms.

What you can do to prevent a dog attack

There are some simple steps you can take to ensure your dog does not harm visitors to your home. Training plays a role; dogs should be encouraged not to react to visitors with barking, growling or jumping. Your dog should be taught to obey your order to lie down or heel.

You should also consider taking steps to prevent your dog coming in to contact with strangers. Ensure you have adequate gates and fencing around your home, and do not allow your dog into the front garden if the post is due. Fixing a lockable letterbox at the boundary to your home will reduce risk, as will a letter cage on your door, so your pet can’t snap at fingers through the letterbox.

Most importantly, you should be aware of where your dog is and what they are doing. You will not be able to calm your dog or call them off unless you are present when a visitor comes.

Beware of dog sign on gate

What to do if your dog bites someone

If your dog bites someone, restrain your pet somewhere within the home. The NHS recommends that you clean the wound by running it under warm tap water for a couple of minutes, even if the skin does not appear broken. Remove any debris or dirt from the wound and squeeze gently to encourage bleeding if this is not already happening – this will help flush out bacteria.

If the bite has caused heavy bleedings, place a clean pad or sterile dressing over it and apply pressure. If a body part such as a finger or ear is severed, wash it in water, wrap in clean tissue and place it in a plastic bag surrounded by ice and take it to hospital with you; this will give the best chance of reattachment. You should always seek medical advice after a dog bite, unless it is very minor.

Did you know that Computerquote Pet Insurance includes cover for third party liability? Why not call the team today to find out if you’re covered?

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