May 28, 2020
How to Prevent Dog Bites
Dogs are great pets and even greater companions. They can give you loyalty and companionship. However, while it is usually both enjoyable and safe to play and interact with a dog, there remains the potential risk of getting bitten by one. Humans may have domesticated dogs and dubbed them man’s best friend, but they are still animals and subject to their base instincts. It can be a challenge to try to figure out whether they want to interact with you or if they are giving you signals to stay away.
Dog bites can be dangerous. When a dog bites and punctures the skin, pathogens from the dog’s mouth can enter the wound, resulting in tetanus, rabies, and sepsis. Injuries can be severe and lead to death. In Canada, there are reportedly close to 500,000 dog bites a year. While severe measures have been taken to control the population of aggressive dogs in the country, dog attacks still occur; citizens need to continue their vigilance and focus on dog bite prevention.
Why Do Dogs Become Aggressive?
Dogs show aggression and bite for several reasons. Understanding their general behaviour and knowing their triggers will help you to better read the situation and avoid being their object of aggression.
Here are some factors that contribute to a dog’s potential for aggression:
- Dogs Feel Threatened
Dogs become aggressive when they feel threatened. When an animal or a person scares a dog, their fight or flight response kicks in. Dogs will escape the threat when they can. However, if they feel trapped or cornered, this can lead them to act against the perceived threat.
- Dogs are Territorial
Some dogs are quite territorial over their space and will not take it lightly when you are in it. If they see that you are getting too close to their home, they are more prone to violence.
- Dogs are Possessive
Dogs can also become aggressive when their possessions are meddled with. They might react if you or other animals get too close to their things. This can mean messing with their favourite toys, their food, or with their bed.
- Dogs are Protective
Mother dogs can be especially protective of their young. They will do what it takes to help their offspring to grow and survive, which is why they can become overprotective parents when people or other animals get close to their puppies.
- Dogs are in Pain
Of course, it is important to help your dogs when they get injured. Pain can make any human irritable, but dogs can become aggressive. Dogs are more likely to bite when they are in pain, especially if someone were to try and touch the affected area.
How Can You Prevent Dog Bites?
Now that you know what can trigger their aggression, here are the ways you can prevent dog bites:
- Do Your Research
If you are planning to get a dog as a pet, you should remember to do some research on which breeds are the least aggressive. Doing this can help you lessen your chances of adopting or purchasing a dog that’s more susceptible to aggression and violence.
Friendly breeds include:
- Basset Hound
- Stay Away From Unfamiliar Dogs
It is best to keep away from dogs you aren’t familiar with, especially strays. No matter how approachable they may look, they might not react nicely if you start to get too close for comfort. The next time you are strolling around and see a lone dog tied to a post or fence, think twice before trying to pet it and leave it be.
- Do Not Disturb Their Meal Time
Leave them alone when they are eating. Since dogs can be extremely possessive of their food, they react aggressively and can bite you as a result. So to prevent any dog bites, avoid disrupting their meal. It is best to leave them alone to eat in peace once you have placed their food in front of them.
- Do Not Approach Injured Dogs
When you see an injured dog, your first instinct might be to offer help. While you may have good intentions, the dog may not see it that way. They may instead react negatively in fear of you worsening its pain and bite. If you do witness an injured dog, leave it to the owner or call the appropriate authorities and inform them of the situation.
- Do Not Disturb Mothers When They’re Feeding
While it may seem okay to get close to them while they are feeding their puppies, we recommend you to stay away. As mentioned, dogs can get aggressive and will bite to protect their puppies. To avoid possible dog bites, give them and their babies the space they need and let the mothers do their parental duties.
If you see a strange dog, sudden movements can surprise and threaten it. If you have to approach them, do it slowly. Do not rush. You must let it know of your presence and give it time to get used to you.
- Keep Calm and Walk Away
If you happen to encounter an aggressive dog, stay calm. Do not try to run away. This will only further agitate the dog and it might even start chasing you. Avoid eye contact, slow down, and keep your distance.
Treatment Guidelines for Dog Bites
Knowing exactly how to respond and administer first aid to dog bite incidents can help prevent complications. If a dog has bitten you, the most important thing is to stay calm and not panic. Here’s what you can do:
- Wash your wounds thoroughly with soap and water to keep the injured area clean.
- Stop the bleeding to prevent further blood loss. Do this by placing a clean towel over the injured area.
- Elevate the affected area to reduce swelling and stop blood flow.
- Apply antibiotic ointment on the injured area to prevent infection.
- Cover the wound and protect the injured area by applying a sterilized bandage.
- Seek medical attention immediately to have the wound treated, get the rabies and/or tetanus vaccine, and avoid dog bite complications.
There are multiple reasons why dogs can become aggressive and lash out. As agreeable as they may be, remember that any creature will react negatively if their survival is on the line. Understanding them, their behaviours, and what they need can go a long way in maintaining the peace between the human and canine species. To ensure that dog bites do not occur and protect yourself from an attack, treat them with the respect they deserve.
If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog belonging to someone else, you may be eligible for a personal injury claim. However, to find out whether or not you have a case and ensure you are properly compensated talk to a lawyer that specializes in personal injury.
If you’re in the Greater Toronto Area, turn to Michelle Linka Law can help you. Our team has the experience and track record of successfully handling various personal injury cases in the area. We will assess your case and make sure you get the maximum recoverable damages from a dog bite. You can contact us by calling at (416) 477-7288 or email us.