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New study: dog bites increase with rising temperatures

Three dogs outside a building. (WISH Photo from video)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A recent study sheds light on the prevalence of dog bites in Indiana. State Farm ranked the Hoosier state 9th in the U.S. for dog-related injury claims.

The National Library of Medicine found that dog bites are more frequent on hot, sunny, and smoggy days.

The study examined over 69,500 cases from eight cities across the nation. The data revealed a correlation between environmental factors and dog bite occurrences. On days with high ozone pollution, dog bites increased by 3%, 4% on hot days, and surged 11% on days with elevated UV rays.

Dr. Rachel Campbell, a veterinarian at the Pet Wellness Clinic, says that the prevention of dog bites is a shared responsibility between dog owners and the general public. She advised people to be cautious around unleashed dogs, maintain a safe distance from aggressive dogs, and seek permission before petting a dog.

Additionally, during hot summer days when the temperature soars, keeping dogs indoors is advised, as the heat can affect their temperament towards people and other animals.

Campbell said, “There are days in Indiana where it’s like 90 to 100 degrees. It’s so hot that we don’t even want to walk outside; the same applies to your dog. Anytime your dog shows reluctance to go on a walk during hot weather, it’s essential to listen to your dog’s signals.”

If another dog bites your dog, she cautioned pet owners to monitor them for signs of swelling, inflammation, or pain, as dog bites can lead to bacteria getting inoculated under the skin.

Under Indiana law, pet owners may be liable if their dog bites another person. So, this is an important reminder for all dog owners to take proper precautions and ensure the safety of their pets and others.