The Danger of Dog Parks
The dog park is a great place for both man and man’s best friend to get outside and enjoy the sunshine. Dog parks definitely attract dog lovers, so it is only natural to want to interact with the other dogs. While the majority of the time owners keep a good eye on their pets, dog bites still occur when a dog feels threatened.
Having a group of dogs unleashed can cause injuries to owners and their dogs. An estimated 4.7 million dog bites occur in the U.S. each year. Of those 4.7 million, 71% of the bites occur to one’s extremities.
Dog parks bring in a wide variety of breeds and temperaments of dogs making for a potentially dangerous situation. Depending on many factors it can be common to see dog fights and predatory drift when visiting a dog park and should make owners aware of the risk. Many people teach great socialization skills for their dog and these may be very safe to be around but keep in mind that not all owners take the time and responsibility to achieve this. When arriving at a dog park it is always a good idea to evaluate the current situation prior to jumping in. If something is bothering you about the behavior of a dog running around it may be a better decision to visit on a different day or time.
If you are ever in a situation in a dog park, or any other place, where you are at risk of being bitten by a dog follow the steps below:
- Don’t look directly into their eyes. Dogs see eye contact as a threat to their authority.
- Do not run towards a dog and immediately start petting them. When first meeting a dog, always put your hand out to allow them to smell you. Think of it as a human hand shake.
- If a dog is eating or drinking, do not disturb them whatsoever. Dogs are extremely territorial and defensive when it comes to their “belongings”.
- Never immediately turn your back and run away from a dog. They will take that as a challenge and move to see you as their prey.
If you do feel that a dog is about to bite or attack, remain motionless with your hands by your sides. If the dog does continue with the attack, give it your jacket, purse or any article of clothing to keep it busy.
If you are bitten by a dog, immediately contact your physician, no matter the size of the wound, to ensure the dog was not carrying any type of disease. Dog bite injuries can also cause nerve damage and permanent scarring, which is left untreated will only get worse. If you are unsure of your situation here is more information on when you should contact a dog bite attorney.