PestSure Blog

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Three Tips to Avoid Dog Bites

More than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year in the United States, and more than 800,000 receive medical attention for dog bites, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

Any dog breed – no matter how cute and friendly, no matter the size – can bite. That puts pest control service technicians, inspectors and sales personnel, at risk as they visit customers’ homes, apartments and businesses to deliver essential services.

Dog bites range from minor nips to full attacks. Regardless of the severity, the potential exists for infection, scarring, healing complications, and recovery time that interferes with an employee’s work and personal schedule.

Preventing Dog Bites

Dog bites are an all-too-common injury, but they are preventable. The key to prevention is communication and planning. This injury should be extremely infrequent if technicians take every opportunity to ensure their personal safety before arriving at an account.

There are several opportunities where technicians, inspectors and sales personnel can communicate with customers regarding pets in the home or business.

  1. The first opportunity for communication is when an account is sold. If the sales representative is aware that there are dogs at the home, they should include this in the notes section of the customer’s file. This way the technician or inspector will be aware prior to their arrival.
  2. The second opportunity for communication is when the technician or inspector makes their call ahead phone call, text or email. This is the perfect time to ask about existing pets and any new additions. Include a reminder in the voicemail, text or email to the homeowner to please contain pets ahead of the appointment. The instructions given to a homeowner prior to the appointment are critical to the safety of employees.
  3. The next opportunity for communication with the customer is when the employee arrives on site. They should take a moment, from the safety of their vehicle, to scan the property for signs of a dog. If there is a loose dog on the property, they should remain in the vehicle and call the customer.

See Something, Say Something

Many employees are bitten when they knock on the front door of the residence. If an employee hears a dog inside, they should put distance between themselves and the front door. This extra distance between them and the dog’s territory should make the pet less protective and less aggressive.

Employees should never enter a home or yard if dogs are loose and roaming. Even pets that they are familiar with can be a problem. An animal’s demeanor changes, and they can become fearful and aggressive.

The containment of a dog while an employee is on site will allow them to proceed with their work more efficiently. If the homeowner refuses to contain the animals, employees should alert their manager and consider passing on service for that day.

In most cases, a simple discussion with the homeowner regarding a company's policy on pet containment will clarify the message. The policy should be shared with the customer both prior to the service and again after the employee arrives.

What to Do if a Dog Approaches You

  •  Stop! Stay still and be calm
  • Do not panic or make loud noises
  • Avoid direct eye contact with the dog
  • Say “No” or “Go Home” in a firm, deep voice
  • Stand with the side of your body facing the dog. Facing a dog directly can appear aggressive to the dog
  • Wait for the dog to pass or slowly back away

What to Do if You are Bitten or Attacked by a Dog

  • Put your sprayer, ladder, tool caddy, or jacket between you and the dog.
  • If you are knocked down, curl into a ball with your head tucked in and your hands protecting your neck

PestSure – Your Partner in Safety

Founded in 1980, PestSure is the only insurance and risk management provider that is 100 percent dedicated to the pest management industry. It offers industry professionals a full suite of insurance, risk management, and safety training and education offerings.

PestSure provides insurance, safety and risk management consulting to pest management companies representing $2 billion in revenue, $750 million in payroll and more than 16,500 service vehicles. The program is administered by Alliant Insurance Services.

Call 888.984.3813 or visit our contact page for more information.

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