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PEMCO Insurance: put your dog’s best paw forward

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SEATTLE — The experts at PEMCO Insurance said about one-third of all homeowner liability claims are related to dog bites and they are not small claims.

Those typically average about $37,000 and the problem is continuing to grow.

Most dog bites are preventable and there are some helpful tips to follow:

  • Socialize puppies with different people and situations
  • Use a leash in public
  • Spay or neuter your pet
  • Isolate dogs when they are anxious or sick
  • Confine your dog in ‘trigger’ situations

A good rule of thumb is to always make sure to ask before you pet someone’s dog. If the dog’s owner isn’t around, then you should stay away.

“Also don’t stick your fingers inside of a fence or an open car window because a dog is more likely to feel territorial over that and if they are not expecting it,” said Kristine Zewe, an Underwriting Quality Analyst at PEMCO Insurance. “Same thing when they are sleeping or eating or playing with their favorite toy. If you startle them or they perceive you as some sort of threat, they are much more likely to bite.”

If you dog does bite someone, Zewe said to get control of the dog first and make sure the other person gets treatment if needed.

“Then, exchange information just like you would in the event of a car accident and then report it to your insurance company. That way if a person files a claim or even worse sues you, your insurance company will be there to take care of it for you.”

While it is common to blame certain breeds, it is important to note that any dog can bite under the wrong circumstances.

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