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What causes dog bites outdoors?

On Behalf of | Apr 19, 2020 | Dog Bites |

Children, delivery people and mail carriers are at risk of dog bites. When the weather is nice in New York, people tend to flock outside. So do dogs. For people who spend a lot of time out of doors, it is a good idea to know what often causes outdoor dog bites. Below are a few common reasons a dog might attack.

Prey drive

Quite a few pedestrians, joggers and bicyclists have been minding their own business only for a dog to chase them and attack them. This could have happened because of a dog’s prey drive. Many dogs’ instincts tell them to chase and capture. The person should stay still and avoid eye contact to minimize the chances of conflict.


People should be careful around a dog that is in pain. For example, suppose a bicyclist is pedaling on the shoulder of a road and comes across a dog that appears to have been hit by a car or injured by a wild animal. It is possible that the dog, in its pain, is irritable and will bite. Even a dog that has arthritis can be more likely to bite if touched in a sore spot, so people should be careful about handling any dog with pain issues.


Fear can cause people to react badly. The same goes for dogs. So, if someone is outside and sees an adorable dog sleeping, it is best to leave it alone. Otherwise, the dog, startled awake, might not reply with a happy pant.


A similar concept to fear applies if a stranger tries to pet a dog, whether leashed or not. Maybe the dog is trying to protect its owner and bites. A mother dog that is with her puppies will also do anything to protect her offspring.

Other things to know

Walkers, joggers and bicyclists can be seriously affected by dog bites that take place outside. So can children playing, mail carriers, delivery people and even sanitation workers.

Soap and water plus an antibiotic cream may be enough to treat minor wounds, with pressure and an emergency doctor visit often necessary for serious wounds. A rabies vaccination may also be needed. At any point, if the bite appears infected, victims should consult a doctor right away. Rabies, tetanus, MSRA and Pasteurella infections are possible. Injuries to the person’s face, neck, leg and other parts of the body can also happen immediately after a bite.

It is worth mentioning that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that more than 50 percent of dog bites occur at home and with familiar dogs. In many cases, children are involved in these bites, and they should be supervised when playing with dogs.

It can be scary to deal with the consequences of a dog bite in New York. An attorney can help guide bite victims through the process of seeking compensation.


Law Offices of Joseph J. Tock