With spring here and the warmer weather, it is only natural we will all be spending more time outside.  This includes our dogs.

But dogs present a concern since even a docile animal will bite or injure someone when they feel threatened.  A dog’s natural instinct is to bite when they feel threatened and they want to protect their owner, puppies or food .

Dogs become dangerous when their humans don’t train them well, breed them irresponsibly, or neglect them.  Visiting the veterinarian should be the first stop when an owner has any concerns over behavior.  Dr. Melissa Bain, American Veterinary Medical Association member and specialist in animal behavior. “They can advise you as to whether there is a medical component for which medication may be an appropriate element of an integrated treatment program, and whether or not a referral to a behavior specialist is warranted.”

As reported in Property Casualty 360 publication “Although dogs are considered man’s best friend, they’re also a significant source of insurance claims, especially for homeowners. In 2016 alone, dog bites and other dog-related injuries accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners liability claim dollars, costing more than $600 million, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) and State Farm, the largest writer of homeowners insurance in the United States.”

Dog bites have increased nationally by 18% between 2015 and 2016.  Interestingly though is the fact that the cost per claim has decreased between that same period.

Dog bites are not the only casualty that can cause injury.  Dogs can also knock down children, bicyclists and elderly people.  And we cannot ignore the Postal Workers who get attacked while delivering mail to the residence of the dog owner.  Also, large dogs are not always the ones to watch out for.  Many small dogs when feeling threatened have bitten individuals.

The state with the 10 most claims and thus paid out a significant number of dollars per claim is Georgia while the number one state in claims is California.