Many dog owners believe that their pets simply won’t bite. Some feel that only certain breeds are likely to bite or that bites will only occur when there is serious provocation. Unfortunately, though, the fact is that a dog of any breed may bite at any time, which could expose you to a dog bite lawsuit. While most canines give plenty of warning before snapping, owners often fail to recognize signs of distress in time to avoid a bite.
Signs a Dog May Bite
Some signals of dogs’ distress are obvious, while others are subtler. Growling or snapping obviously indicates that your pet is worked up and poses a danger, but there are other warning signs of which you should be aware:
- Yawning, lip licking
- Looking away
- Showing the whites of his eyes
- Tucking his tail, cowering
- Bristling fur or “raised hackles“
- Stiff posture
- Lowered head
- Teeth baring
Watch carefully for these signals, especially when around children.
Protect Yourself and Your Dog
- Use a sturdy leash; keep it short enough so others aren’t forced to walk within your dog’s reach
- Refuse requests to pet him if your dog shows signs of distress
- Discourage children from making extensive eye contact, reaching toward your dog’s head, or approaching him when he’s eating
As a dog owner, you are legally responsible for your pet’s behavior and any harm he causes. To minimize your risk of a dog bite lawsuit, always take steps to keep your dog calm, stress-free, and under your control when in public.