Anyone who has ever been bitten by a dog knows that the pain can be excruciating. Not only are they painful, but dog bites can cause serious injuries, including lacerations, torn tendons and even nerve damage. In fact, an estimated 4.5 million people are victims of dog bites each year in the United States, and approximately one fifth of those bites require medical care, according to Cesarsway.com.
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An established Illinois dog bite lawyer knows that not all dog attacks are foreseeable. While mean and aggressive dogs are seen as obvious attackers, the majority of dog bites come from friendly canines that may be scared, sick or stressed. Dogs lash out for many different reasons. Many breeds are incredibly possessive, and may attack while trying to protect their property or puppies from strangers. Canines that are sick or in pain may even act out toward caretakers. It is important to know the signs that lead up to these encounters in order to avoid being bitten.
1. The dog’s ears are perked up
The ASPCA explains how dogs naturally perk up their ears when they are interested in something. Some canines may even point their ears toward their subject of interest. Although different breeds have distinctive ear types, most canines hold their ears similarly when they are feeling aggressive or warning others of possible agitation.
2. The dog’s fur stands up on the back of the neck and along the backbone
Many dogs are said to ‘raise their hackles’ when they are upset. This includes the area where the shoulder blades meet and runs down the dog’s back. When dogs are in attack mode, they will try to make themselves appear larger, by sticking out their chest and raising their fur.
3. The dog will make intense eye contact
Before biting, dogs may stare down their victims with a penetrating look, a fact that an Illinois dog bite lawyer knows. Many canines also show their teeth, snarl and lick their lips to show their intensions. People should keep in mind that some dogs will act in a more casual fashion before nipping. If the dog looks away, whines or yawns, they may be getting ready to bite as well.
4. The dog becomes vocal
According to Hartz, some dogs will vocalize their fear or anger by growling or barking. Many people can tell the difference between a friendly, happy bark and a vicious growling that is given as a warning to stay away.
People should never approach a dog that is displaying the aforementioned behaviors. If an animal is acting oddly, an Illinois dog bite lawyer will agree that it is best to stay away. This will ultimately minimize a person’s risk of becoming a dog bite victim.