You do your best to protect your loved ones from harm, including your family members that have fur and claws. Most of us think of our pets as members of the family. It can be just as devastating to have another dog attack a beloved cat or dog as it would be for a dog to attack one of our human family members. What can Californians do to keep their pets from suffering harm from someone else’s dog?

As we have explained in other posts on our blog, dog owners in California may be liable if their pet bites, whether or not it was the first time the dog had bitten or if the dog had been on a leash or running free. The following tips may help you keep your pets safe from an attack:

  • When you are out with your dog, have it on a leash. This can keep your dog under your control. Even a well-trained dog might unexpectedly run off toward a strange dog.
  • Be aware that there may be unpredictable dogs in dog parks, and proceed with caution. Learn to recognize the signs of a distressed or agitated dog, including your own. Be ready to remove your dog from the situation quickly, and do let your phone or other things distract you when your dog is playing with others.
  • If your dog is timid, suspicious or aggressive around other dogs, take it across the street or make room if you see another dog on your walk. You may also want to do this if your dog is friendly or neutral toward others, as you never know how another dog might react to yours.
  • Stay calm when you encounter another dog, as your pet can pick up on your nonverbal signals and might become nervous or panicky.
  • Try to keep your cats indoors if there are dogs in the neighborhood. If someone visits your home with a dog, put your cat in a separate room with the door closed.

As you might expect, attempting to protect your pet might also result in you suffering an injury. You may save yourself a great deal of grief and pain by taking measures to prevent an attack, but you cannot always prevent accidents from occurring. If you or your pet sustains any harm, you may be eligible for compensation.