What to Know Before You Pet Sit For a Friend or Family Member

Here are some key points to consider before you agree to pet sit.

As Chicago dog bite lawyers, we’ve seen firsthand the unfortunate—and sometimes tragic—consequences that can arise from seemingly harmless interactions with pets. Pet sitting for a friend or family member might seem like a fun and easy task, but it’s essential to understand the potential risks involved, especially when it comes to dog bites.

While dogs are known as “man’s best friend,” they also have another side. As natural-born hunters, dogs can snap and turn what seemed like a fun weekend into a trip to the emergency room—or worse. In fact, each day in the United States, approximately 1,000 people are treated in the hospital for dog bites, up to over 350,000 dog bites yearly.

Here are some key points to consider before you agree to pet sit.

Understand the Dog’s Behavior

First and foremost, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with your friend’s or family member’s dog’s behavior. Every dog has a unique personality, and what might be acceptable to one dog might not be to another. Spend time with the dog in the presence of its owner before you agree to pet sit. This will allow you to observe the dog’s behavior, understand its likes and dislikes, and learn about any triggers that might lead to aggressive behavior.

Ask About the Dog’s History

It’s also important that you inquire about the dog’s history. Has the dog ever bitten anyone before? Does it have a history of aggressive behavior? What does the owner know about things that might trigger their pet? Knowing this information beforehand can help you decide whether you feel comfortable pet sitting and can prepare you for potential situations.

Know Where You Can Get Prompt Medical Treatment

The moments after a dog bite are incredibly stressful, and while it’s easy to think you’ll be able to keep a level head, it’s harder than it sounds. In a worst-case scenario, you want to know where the nearest hospital is located and how to get there.

Know Your Legal Rights

In the unfortunate event that you are bitten by a dog you’re pet sitting, it’s important to know your legal rights. In Illinois, the Animal Control Act holds dog owners strictly liable for injuries caused by their pets, even if the dog has never shown signs of aggression before or the owner had no idea of what their pet was capable of. However, if you’re pet sitting, the situation can become more complex, especially when your friend or family member’s insurance company gets involved. Depending on the circumstances, the dog’s owner may still be liable for your injuries, but there are arguments an insurance company could make in an attempt to defeat your claim. If you’re injured while pet-sitting, it’s crucial to consult with a Chicago dog bite lawyer to understand your legal options.

Have a Plan in Case of an Emergency

Finally, always have an emergency plan in place. Know the location of the nearest vet, have the owner’s contact information readily available, and understand basic first aid for dogs. If the dog bites you or someone else, seek medical attention immediately, even if the injury seems minor. If not properly treated, dog bites can lead to serious infections and other complications. In fact, some experts estimate that 20 percent of dog bite victims develop an infection at the site of the bite. Infections can be fatal if not treated promptly and properly, so it is imperative to understand what’s at risk after a dog bite.

Pet sitting can be a rewarding experience, but it’s not without its risks. Understanding the dog’s behavior, knowing its history, getting written permission, understanding your legal rights, and having an emergency plan can help ensure a safe and enjoyable pet-sitting experience. And remember, if you’re ever bitten by a dog, whether you are pet-sitting or not, don’t hesitate to reach out to a Chicago dog bite lawyer to discuss your case. Your safety and rights should always be a priority.

Speak with a Chicago Dog Bite Lawyer to Learn More About Illinois Dog Bite Laws

You are not alone if you were recently attacked by a dog while pet-sitting. Hundreds of thousands of people are seriously injured yearly due to dog attacks. And while Illinois has some of the best dog bite laws in the country for victims, that doesn’t guarantee a successful result. At the Chicago personal injury law firm of Briskman Briskman & Greenberg, our dedicated dog bite attorneys have been helping victims recover financial compensation for what they’ve been through since 1987. We understand how to navigate our clients’ cases through the legal system in pursuit of a fair settlement or verdict that fully compensates them for their injuries and the impact that the attack had on their lives. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, call 877-595-4878. You can also connect with us through our online contact form.

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