Thwart Dog Bites

Thwart Dog Bites

Did you know that dog bites cause over 2,000 injuries that require immediate medical care in the United States each day? You can be held legally liable if your dog bites someone. Fortunately, this loss is usually covered by the homeowners policy, with some exceptions. In fact, around 33 percent of all liability insurance claims paid by homeowners policies are for dog bites!

Even if your insurance covers the claim (and any ensuing lawsuit), however, imagine the personal grief you and your family would feel for the injured friend, not to mention the time and trouble you would incur in cooperating with your insurer in defending the claim following a tragic event involving your pet.

Therefore, thwarting such an ill-fated occurrence should be your primary objective, and there are steps you can take to reduce or prevent dog bites. Here are some suggestions from the professionals.

  • Consider dog breeds carefully prior to selecting a pet. Some breeds may be more aggressive than others. A veterinarian can help you decide which breeds might best fit your lifestyle.
  • Spay or neuter the animal, as this often decreases the aggressiveness of dogs.
  • Seek a veterinarian's advice quickly if your dog becomes aggressive.
  • Socialize your dog from an early age to encourage appropriate behavior.
  • Never leave dogs alone with small children.
  • Avoid aggressive games with puppies and dogs, such as tug-of-war.
  • Do not place your dog in situations where he or she can be teased or feel threatened.
  • Train your dog to obey commands.
  • If your dog does bite someone, a board-certified plastic surgeon should treat this person to minimize scarring and potential disfigurement.

There is one other loss exposure concerning dogs you should consider. You may face liability claims if your dog gets out into the road and causes or contributes to an auto accident. You can be sued for violation of leash ordinances by allowing your dog to run at large. Use a well-maintained and sturdy fence or other safeguards to reduce this exposure.

If your dog does injure someone despite all your efforts to avoid it, report it to your insurance company immediately to assure your coverage is not jeopardized for late reporting.

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