Seven Tips for Avoiding Dog Bites

Dog bites are terrible things.  If a dog bites a human, the dog will probably be euthanized.  If your dog bites another dog, there is trauma, and possible financial consequences.  At the same time, you do not want your dog to be the recipient of a dog bite.

According to the AVMA Dog Bite Prevention webpage,

Here are seven tips to help avoid your dog or you being part of those statistics:

  1. Properly socialize and train your dog.  Get the dog used to being around other dogs and people and behaving properly while doing so.  Work with a dog trainer to get your dog trained properly and to socialize the dog properly with other well behaved dogs.
  2. Keep your dog on a tight leash in public.  Do not use extendable leashes as they do not give you the control you need over your dog.  The ideal leash is a nylon or leather six foot leash with a strong snap on it.  Nylon will sting your hands if the dog pulls it through them, but leather is more expensive.
  3. Do not let your dog approach a strange dog.  In addition to the potential for a fight, the strange dog may transmit diseases such as parvo, distemper, and kennel cough, and possibly rabies.
  4. Avoid potentially stressful and harmful situations.  If your dog is socially challenged, skip the dog park.  Any place dogs congregate is a high stress situation and even a normally calm dog may bite or fight.  Also, dog parks are a good place to pick up diseases such as kennel cough because of the large number of dogs around.
  5. Learn to read doggy body language and know when your dog, or another dog, is acting aggressive.  Just because a dog is wagging his tail does not mean he is friendly.  It may be a sign he is puffing himself up to attack you or your dog.
  6. You may be thinking that the first five recommendations are fine, but your dog would never fight or bite anyone or anything.  Consider the costs of treatment if that happens.  Veterinarians hear all the time from clients who never thought their dog would get in a fight when they bring their dogs in for treatment from a bite wound.
  7. Always be on guard.  Anytime your dog is around strange dogs, or strange people, the potential for a bite is there.  Always pay attention when your dog is playing with your children.  Sometimes children provoke dogs by pulling on their tails, or ears, or dressing them up and expecting them to tolerate it.  Never leave a dog unsupervised around a baby, either.  The dog may be jealous of all the attention the new baby is getting and become aggressive toward the child.

Nobody wants to deal with a dog bite.  These seven tips will help you avoid that trauma.