Warning Signs a Dog May Bite

Published on: 02/19/24 — In 

A significant number of individuals in the United States, and around the world, experience injuries from dog bites each year. To ensure safety, it is important to recognize signs of dog aggression or potential bite warnings. If you or someone you know has experienced a dog bite, we understand that there may be difficulties in paying for medical costs and managing emotional distress and trauma.

If you've been bitten by a dog, our dog bite injury lawyers at Ktenas Injury Attorneys can provide a free consultation with no obligation. During this consultation, we will explain your rights and the potential compensation you may receive for the bite incident.

Call our Chicago dog bite attorneys at (312) 300-2515 in order to obtain an evaluation of your case. We are here to assist you in filing a bite injury claim today.

Dog Bite Warning Signs

When it comes to dog bite preventive measures, understanding the obvious signs of a bite attack is essential. Dogs usually display several signs and behaviors that indicate they are feeling uneasy or threatened. These common dog bite signs can alert you to a potential attack and should be heeded as soon as possible in order to avoid being bitten.

Growling and Snapping

Growling and snapping are two signs of aggression in dogs. If you are around a dog that is growling or snapping, it's essential to immediately distance yourself from the animal to give them plenty of time and space to relax.

a dog barking at a man

Furthermore, if possible, if you are the owner of the dog, keeping records of these 'unruly' episodes can help identify the triggers behind such dramatic behaviors as well as allow your vet to properly diagnose the issue.

Lip Licking, Yawning, and an Avoidant Gaze

If you notice a dog licking his lips frequently (even without there being any food around), showing signs of excessive yawning, and gaze avoidance in your presence, then it is likely that he may not be comfortable having someone so close so soon.

This usually happens around people that the dog is unfamiliar with, so it is important to remain patient with the dog and give him plenty of time to establish trust in his new environment.

Sclera Sighting

Another common dog caution sign is when a dog's sclera, the white part of the eye, is visible. This happens when a dog is so overwhelmed or fearful that they can't turn their head, and instead, they shift their eyes away from the source of fear.

Related: How Liability is Determined for Dog Bite Claims in Chicago

It looks like a stark white patch on the outside corner of their eyes and when this— alongside lip-licking, growling, and raised hair—is seen in combination with body immobility, it is usually an indication that your dog is feeling threatened.

Rigid Stance

If you notice that your dog has a rigid body, it is a sign that they are not in a comfortable state. This can be in response to tension between another animal or person, fear, or anxiety. A typical rigid stance may involve the dog having a stiff body and elevated tail, whilst keeping their ears upright. The upright tail position is often accompanied by their pupils widening and possibly growling should the situation escalate further.

Raised Hackles

Raised hackles are a common sight among dogs. They typically appear when a dog is feeling fearful, anxious, excited, nervous, or angry. If your pet's hair stands up down the neck, back and tail area, it's best to give them some space and time to cool off before approaching them again. Reacting in an aggressive manner will only heighten their distress and make the situation worse for everyone involved.

Tucked-away Tail and Cowering

A tucked-away tail and cowering are signs that the dog is afraid of you. This fear may be the result of physical or emotional trauma or just a lack of trust towards its owner, so it's important to take this warning sign seriously.

a large Labrador barring its teeth

Even if your dog never shows the intention of biting, if pressured to interact against his will, he could feel unsafe and lash out in defense. The best way to build trust is by allowing him to come to you when he is ready - talk calmly when he’s around without trying to touch him, and feed him treats occasionally.

How to Prevent a Dog Bite

The best way to prevent dog bites is to be cautious and use good judgment when interacting with canines. A basic rule of thumb is to never pet or reach out to dogs that are unfamiliar. It’s important to always ask a dog’s owner for permission before you attempt to interact with their pet.

Once the permission has been granted, let the dog sniff your closed hand before you start petting them. This allows them time to get used to your scent and builds a sense of trust and security in the animal. When you do start petting the dog, avoid petting it on its head or back; instead focus on their shoulder and chest areas.

Learn More: Are Dog Bites Covered By Insurance?

Dogs also need privacy while sleeping, eating, and nursing puppies; so refrain from attempting any interaction during such times as this may agitate them and cause an attack. By following these simple steps, avoiding aggressive behaviors near canines, taking note of body language (such as growling), and respecting their boundaries you should be able to minimize your risk of encountering a canine-related bite incident.

What to Do if You're Bitten by a Dog

If you have been bitten by a dog, it is important to act quickly for your own health and legal safety. First, use warm, soapy water to clean the area immediately. This can help reduce the risk of infection. Then seek medical attention if needed. Even if the bite seems minor, the doctor can make sure that no further problems develop.

Next, report the incident to local animal control authorities right away. It is crucial to provide all relevant information you have about the dog or puppy that bit you - such as its owner's name and contact information - so that they can take appropriate action against it.

Furthermore, if the animal was a stray, providing details of what it looks like and which direction it went when it ran off may help in tracking down the offending pet and preventing another potential bite victim from suffering a similar experience.

If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, don't hesitate to seek legal guidance from an experienced Chicago injury lawyer. Your rights and well-being matter, and we're here to help you navigate the legal process. Contact us today for a free consultation and let us file your dog bite claim and fight for the compensation and justice you deserve.