This Sunday, April the 8th marks the start of Dog Bite Prevention Week. So, to kick things off right, here is a list of the important things to know when preventing dog bites.
Fear and is one of the most common reasons a dog will bite someone
Even the sweetest of dogs may bite when they are put into a frightening situation. It can be hard to know what types of situations may scare your dog, but proper socialization and desensitization as a puppy can reduce the likely hood of a fun day, turning quickly into a disaster. By exposing your puppy, during their first year of life, to numerous new and positive experiences, they will have greater success in the future,
Dogs will typically use body language as a warning signal before a bite ever occurs
Your dog can convey that they are afraid in several different ways. Most dogs will want to get away from what is causing them anxiety. However, if this is not an option they will begin display specific behaviors such as; excessive yawning, licking their nose, a raised rigid or tucked tail, pinned back ears, and a general unusual demeanor. If we fail to recognize these signs as owners, our dog may feel like they have no other option but to bite what is causing them so much fear. So as a pet parent it is very important to always be attuned to your dog’s behavior.
Avoid some risky situations
The American Veterinary Medical Association lists some risky situations that are best to avoid - when not to pet a dog:
If the dog is not with its owner
If the dog is with its owner but the owner does not give permission to pet the dog
If the dog is on the other side of a fence – don't reach through or over a fence to pet a dog
If a dog is sleeping or eating
If a dog is sick or injured
If a dog is resting with her puppies or seems very protective of her puppies and anxious about your presence
If a dog is playing with a toy
If a dog is growling or barking
If a dog appears to be hiding or seeking time alone
Children are bitten by dogs more often than adults
Children must be taught the do’s and don’ts when it comes to dogs. This is why it is especially important for parents to always be present when young children and dogs play together. The ASPCA explains in an article about dog bite prevention, that “children should not approach, touch or play with any dog who is sleeping, eating, chewing on a toy or bone, or caring for puppies. Animals are more likely to bite if they’re startled, frightened or caring for young”.
Responsible pet parent owners can recognize the signs of fear, quickly and adequately address the issue, and safely work to prevent unnecessary dog bites from occurring.
Dog Bite Prevention. (n.d.). Retrieved April 05, 2018, from