Dog Bite Awareness

Dog Bite Awareness

iStock_000013392500_LargeWhen you consider a dog who is likely to bite, what comes to mind? If you thought of aggressive behavior, you would not be the only one with this idea. However, the truth about dog bite scenarios is more complicated, and the warning signs are often more subtle.

Fearful Dogs and Breed Discrimination

Whether it stems from bad press or is rooted in our assumptions about “guard dogs,” certain breeds are more feared than others. Realistically, all dogs have the capacity to bite when they have not been trained or socialized. In fact, there are many small or toy breeds that are considered more likely to bite. When it comes to children (who are commonly the victims of dog bites), a small dog can inflict serious injuries.

Dog bites and other acts of aggression happen for a plethora of reasons, most notably fear. Anxiety occurs when a dog has not been properly socialized and behavioral problems have not been addressed. Rather than deal with issues head on, owners might think keeping their dog away from others is a good alternative. However, this just reinforces the behavior until the unfortunate day a child, pet, or stranger encounters the dog.

Sadly, many dog bites occur due to unaddressed behavioral issues, many of which are preventable.

Indicators of a Potential Dog Bite

How do you know if a dog is about to bite? The signs may be subtle, and nervous or fearful dogs are often the culprits. Things to look for include:

  • Flattened ears
  • Cowering
  • Furled brow
  • Hypervigilance
  • Backing away

More overt signs include:

  • Snarling or growling
  • Erect ears
  • Direct eye contact
  • Erect posture
  • Rigid tail
  • Showing teeth

Dog Bite Prevention

The best way to avoid a dog bite is to never allow a situation to get out of hand. Here are some tips to keep your family and other pets safe:

  • Always ask the owner for permission to approach a dog.  
  • Supervise children around all pets (even tiny breeds).
  • Avoid approaching a dog who seems aggressive or fearful (remember the cues!).
  • Keep your pet leashed and close to your side when out for a walk.
  • Before allowing your child near a strange dog, ask the owner whether he or she has been trained and socialized.
  • Teach your child to never touch or play with a dog who is eating, sleeping, or chewing on a favorite toy or bone.
  • Be a responsible pet owner and advocate for training and socialization. Also take it upon yourself to teach your children about canine behavior.

For more dog bite prevention tips, please call the team at Schertz Animal Hospital.

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Schertz Animal Hospital

Since 1976, Schertz Animal Hospital has offered the greater San Antonio area outstanding pet care. Our state-of-the-art animal hospital in Schertz, TX compliments our stress-free handling and experienced veterinary staff. Make an appointment online or give us a call at (210) 659-0345 today!