Under UK legislation, an owner may be liable for the actions of their dog if the dog is “out of control”

Emerald Life was at the Victoria Park Dog Show recently, organised by All About Dogs. It was great to see so many dog-owners and wannabe dog-owners, having fun, chatting and watching the shows and competitions. The dogs were just as friendly as their owners, and with tens of dogs running around, the atmosphere was great.

One dog in particular caught my eye, or rather one collar. It is important when we own dogs that we signal to strangers how friendly (or not) our dog is. The rule is:  always best to first ask an owner if you can pet their dog, and it is an important lesson for children to learn and understand rather than barrelling towards a dog that may be nervous.

Many of you will know that a yellow collar on a dog means ‘nervous’, although the better collars have that written on them. This weekend was the first time that I have seen a green ‘friendly’ collar. I spoke to the owners about this lovely little chap Monty. He is a rescue dog and could not have been more eager to make new friends. The reason for a green collar is that many people get nervous around certain breeds that have a perceived bad reputation, like Staffordshire Bull Terriers (such as Monty), Bull Terriers, Dobermans etc., all of which can be sweet and loving dogs with the right homes. Lots of people don’t want to come over and say hello to the dog, which is itself a shame, and the dog can feel unsettled because of the nervous vibe being given out.

Your liability as a dog-owner

But no dog is sweet and lovely all the time. What do you do when your dog bites or causes damage? It can happen even with the best-trained dogs if tired or provoked. If your dog runs off and causes a car accident, the bill can be thousands, and even more if medical treatment is required. By law (under various pieces of legislation) an owner may be liable for the actions of their dog (cats are not covered!) if the dog is ‘out-of-control’, which can be broadly interpreted. We all know our dogs – and sometimes they do things they shouldn’t. You can’t change that, but you should have insurance for that event. Good dog policies should have a decent level of third party cover. The Emerald Life pet policy has third party liability cover up to £1,000,000 per event, covering both property damage and injury or death.

Of course, as responsible dog owners one should have a pet policy that includes a suitable level of third party liability cover for you and your dog. If you don’t or if you fancy just doing a price check, you can check out Emerald’s pet policy here.

We all love our dogs and it’s just good to have that extra peace of mind.