Is it just me or are we seeing more reports in the media these days about dogs biting or attacking people? It can be traumatic for the owner as well as the victim. For instance, I read last week about a case in California in which a lawsuit resulted in a payout of more than $1 million for a youngster attacked by a dog. It turns out that around 1,000 bite victims end up in emergency rooms throughout North America every day and there are close to 5 million bites in a single year. If you’re a dog owner, or you know someone who is, or you’re about to become an owner, here’s some useful information to help wise-up to the risks:
Some breeds are more inclined to bite than others – and they’re not always the ones you expect. See this list: Agressive Dogs
Most bite victims are children, so you should be extra vigilant when kids are around. Common advance warning signs of a bite attack include
- pinned-back ears
- back fur standing up
- unusually visible whites of the eyes
- yawning to show teeth
- a freezing response to touch
- intense eye contact
Dog aggression may be driven by a sense of possessiveness – for property or individuals – fear and pain. If your dog exhibits these symptoms, seek professional help. If you dog is inclined to nip or to be aggressive, don’t leave it unattended with others, and muzzle it. If your dog bites someone, constrain it immediately and, if appropriate, seek medical help for the victim. Don’t admit liability but do provide the victim with information about the animal’s most recent rabies shot. Most home insurance policies provide coverage against injuries caused by pets but if you’re not sure on this, just ask your homeowners insurance agent to check. You may also need to consider whether your coverage ceiling is adequate.
On a different but related matter, healthcare costs for animals are rising quickly these days. Not surprisingly, over the past few years I’ve seen a steady increase in pet insurance inquiries from owners. Right now, the market for pet medical insurance is extremely competitive so rates are good. If you’d like to talk about your options on this, Joyce, Jackman & Bell Insurors are happy to help.