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Approaching an unfamiliar dog could put you at risk for injuries

As someone who loves animals, you may feel a great affinity for any dog you come across. To you, each animal may deserve love and attention, but you likely also know that approaching an unfamiliar dog could pose a considerable risk. Even if a dog seems friendly, it does not take much for a dog to become startled or fearful. In such cases, the animal could attack.

Though many people may go through their lives without facing such an incident, dog attacks are not altogether uncommon. Children and men have a greater chance of involvement in such an event, but anyone could suffer injuries if a dog attacks. Therefore, you and others may want to understand how to potentially avoid such a situation.

What to do

If you come across an unfamiliar dog, you may want to quell your first instincts to pet or call to the animal. Gaining the attention of the dog could put you at risk. If a dog does approach you, it may work in your best interests to remain as still as possible. In many cases, a dog may sniff but quickly lose interest if you remain motionless.

In the event that a dog knocks you to the ground, curling up in a ball and using your hands to protect your ears and neck while remaining still may help.

If for any other reason you notice a dog acting aggressively or exhibiting strange behavior, you may wish to inform its owner or the proper animal control authorities.

What not to do

As mentioned, you should not attempt to gain the attention of an unfamiliar dog. Without knowing its temperament, you could find yourself the target of an aggressive animal. If a dog does try to approach you, you should not run away. The dog's instincts will result in it giving chase.

You should also not surprise a dog or attempt to pet it without it first knowing you are there. A startled animal may be more likely to bite out of fear in hopes of protecting itself.

How to handle injuries

If a dog does attack you and you suffer injuries, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Animal bites and scratches can cause serious harm, and if left untreated or improperly treated, you could risk infection or other negative outcomes. Additionally, because of the monetary damages that could also stem from such an event, you may wish to consider filing a personal injury claim against the animal's owner in hopes of obtaining compensation.

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