National Pet Month ― Protecting Yourself from Bites and Attacks

Dog Bite (1)
Madeleine Jones
May 9, 2023

National Pet Month is a time to celebrate our furry friends and the joy they bring into our lives. However, with pet ownership comes responsibility, including protecting yourself and others from bites and attacks. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year in the United States, and approximately 20% of those bites become infected. In this article, we’ll discuss how to prevent pet bites and attacks, and what to do if you or a loved one are injured.

How to Prevent Pet Bites and Attacks

Know the signs: Dogs often exhibit warning signs before they bite or attack, including growling, baring their teeth, and standing rigidly. Pay attention to these signals and remove yourself or others from the situation.

Ask permission:

Always ask the pet owner for permission before approaching or petting their animal. Not all pets are comfortable with strangers, and approaching without permission can cause them to feel threatened and potentially lash out.

  • Respect boundaries: Just like people, pets have boundaries. If a dog is hiding or appears uncomfortable, don’t force them to interact with you.
  • Don’t disturb pets while they’re eating or sleeping: Animals can be protective of their food and sleep spaces, and disturbing them during these times can trigger a defensive response.
  • Keep your distance from unfamiliar pets: If you encounter an unfamiliar pet, give them space and avoid making direct eye contact.

What to Do if You’re Bitten or Attacked

Seek medical attention ― even if a bite doesn’t appear serious, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Dog bites can cause serious infections, and medical professionals can assess the extent of the injury and provide proper treatment. 

Gather information:

If you’re bitten or attacked, gather as much information as possible, including the pet owner’s contact information, the pet’s vaccination records, and any witnesses to the incident.

Report the incident:

In most states, pet owners are legally responsible for the actions of their animals. Reporting the incident to animal control or the police can help ensure that the pet owner takes responsibility for their pet’s actions and takes measures to prevent future incidents.

Consult with a dog bite attorney:

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured by a dog bite or attack, it may be in your best interest to consult with a dog bite attorney. An experienced attorney can help you understand your legal rights and seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.


Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do if a dog is aggressive towards me?

If a dog is exhibiting aggressive behavior towards you, slowly back away and avoid making eye contact or sudden movements. If the dog approaches and attacks, use an object like a backpack or jacket to protect yourself.

Can I sue a pet owner if their animal bites me?

In most cases, yes. Pet owners are typically liable for the actions of their pets, and you may be able to seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other damages with the help of a dog bite attorney.

What should I do if a dog bites my child?

Seek medical attention immediately, and gather as much information as possible about the pet and the incident. Report the incident to animal control or the police, and consider consulting with a dog bite attorney to understand your legal rights and seek compensation for damages.

Can I prevent my own pet from biting or attacking?

Yes. Proper training, socialization, and supervision can help prevent pet bites and attacks

How Can I Avoid Being Bitten by a Dog?

There are a few things you can do to reduce your risk of being bitten by a dog:

  • Always ask permission before approaching a dog. Never assume that a dog is friendly or wants to be petted.
  • Never approach a dog that is eating, sleeping, or caring for puppies. These are all situations where a dog may feel threatened and could become aggressive.
  • If a dog seems scared or anxious, keep your distance. A dog that is scared or anxious may bite out of fear.
  • Never run from a dog, as this can trigger a chase response. Instead, stand still and avoid making eye contact with the dog.
  • If a dog is approaching you, try to stay calm and avoid making sudden movements. You can also try using a loud, firm voice to tell the dog to go away.

What Should I Do if I Am Bitten by a Dog?

If you are bitten by a dog, there are several steps you should take:

  • Wash the wound with soap and warm water as soon as possible.
  • Seek medical attention, especially if the wound is deep or bleeding heavily.
  • Report the bite to the local animal control agency or police department. They will need to investigate the incident and ensure that the dog is up to date on its vaccinations.
  • Gather information about the dog and its owner, such as the owner’s name and contact information, as well as any information about the dog’s vaccination history.
  • Contact a dog bite attorney for advice on your legal options.


National Pet Month serves as a reminder of the importance of responsible pet ownership and safety measures to prevent dog bites and attacks. While it is crucial to take steps to protect yourself and your loved ones from potential dog attacks, it is also essential to understand your legal rights in the event of an incident.

At J. Cogburn Law, our experienced team of dog bite attorneys is dedicated to helping victims of dog bites and attacks recover the compensation they deserve. If you or a loved one has been bitten or attacked by a dog, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for a free consultation. We will fight tirelessly to ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive the justice you deserve.

Contact us today to schedule your free consultation and take the first step towards recovery.