Kids love to play outside in the warm Pennsylvania summer and run around, don't they?
So, too, do dogs.
And sometimes, the mix of dogs and kids can result in a serious mishap.
Summertime is the season of dog bites, apparently. Even the normally well-mannered dogs can bite and leave a child with emotional trauma or physical pain.
Many dog bites can be prevented, if the dog's owner or the child's parent picks up on the warning signs.
Those warning signs indicate that a dog is undergoing stress, which they apparently go through in hot weather – just as people do. Those signs can include scratching, yawning, shaking, fidgeting and licking.
Dogs bite when they feel their space, or an object such as a toy, has been invaded. Dogs become afraid when they face the unpredictable – and to dogs, kids are unpredictable.
When dog owners see their pets becoming bothered, they need to get them away from all people and dogs as quickly as they can. Dogs always should be on a leash in public spaces.
If someone comes near a dog and wants to pet it, owners should advise just how to do it without agitating the dog. Even the friendliest dogs can be rubbed the wrong way.
Dog bites are not pleasant. They can range from just a nick to a serious bite that requires immediate medical intervention.
The best scenario occurs when children and their parents are attentive to a dog's actions and when the owner takes care to keep the dog controlled at all times around strangers. Still, not all pet owners are as diligent as they should be at all times.
If your child is bitten by a dog this summer, make sure to wash the wound with a mild soap and water, apply antibiotic cream and put on a sterile bandage. Keep a close look for redness and swelling, ask your child about pain and watch for fever. Any of those could indicate an infection and the need for prompt medical attention.
A dog bite can lead to serious problems if not properly addressed. Treatment could be costly, and you might need professional legal advice to work with the dog owner's insurer to make sure you are compensated.