Are you aware that nearly half of all bites come from a dog owned by the victim’s family or friends? Additionally, of the 4.5 million people who suffer from dog bites in the U.S. each year, most are children. With this risk, it’s essential that all owners take the necessary precautions to control their dogs and teach their children about pet safety. Below are some helpful tips on how to prevent your dog from lashing out at another person or animal.
For starters, it’s important to remember that any dog could bite if provoked. Big or small, male or female, pet or stranger, every dog has sharp teeth and evolutionary instincts. Biting is also not breed specific. Some breeds are labeled more aggressive than others, but the reality is that any dog could attack if it feels threatened. In turn, dog bites carry the risk of infection. If a bite should occur, it’s paramount to act quickly, generously irrigate the wound, and seek medical help — and if necessary, legal support.
A dog could bite for a multitude of reasons; often, it is in reaction to something. Uncomfortable situations and loud noises among other factors can scare or startle it. When these situations escalate and the dog feels threatened, it could bite out of defense. The dog could also do this as a way to protect something else, such as territory, food, toys, offspring, or their owner. Dogs could also bite if they are sick. We commonly blame rabies when animals attack, but this affliction isn’t the only ailment that can cause a dog to suddenly become aggressive. The dog could also be hurt or experiencing pain. The instinct to defend itself by biting could also be the symptom of an illness or even a reaction to past trauma.
So, what can owners do to make sure their dog doesn’t get aggressive? Some methods include spaying or neutering pets, prioritizing regular exercise, and obedience training while still a puppy. Another reliable approach is to introduce the dog to other animals and people at a young age. Known as socializing, this method could allow a dog to feel more comfortable in different situations as it gets older and give the owner a chance to relax knowing that they have control over their dog. Owners should also make an effort to teach their children to identify dangerous situations and how to prevent escalation.
One last tip for owners, children, and everyone else is to learn how to read a dog’s body language. A dog shows its discomfort or anxiety through body language, such as the position of their tail. These tells could also help people know when the right time is to approach an unfamiliar dog.
For more advice on how to prevent a dog bite, please see the accompanying resource.
Guide created by Van Sant Law