Dog bites are commonly associated with stray dogs. However, rabies-causing bites may actually involve your own pets as well. This is the reason why you need to understand why dogs bite, and how you can prevent this from happening to you and your canine companions.
Here’s a surprising statistic: About 60% of dogs who were reported to have bitten people have not been given anti-rabies shots. Either their owners do not keep a record of their pet’s vaccination or they have not really considered giving their pets the shots.
Dogs bite for varied reasons:
- Effect of getting old
- Excessive excitement
- Sudden or surprising events that startle them
- Protective instincts over its possessions such as food, water or its own puppies
- Protective instinct over its territory
- Act of protection for its owner
Looking at these reasons, it’s clear how intelligent our dogs are! On top of that, our dogs have feelings, too. Therefore, whether we are pet owners or not, we should know how to take care of them and how to behave around them. After all, a little movement may cause them to become dangerous.
The Number One Reason Why Dogs Bite
According to a study by Dr. S. Bharathy published in the journal “Advances in Animal and Veterinary Sciences”, the primary trigger why dogs bite is getting provoked by the bite victims themselves. Most of the victims were aged between 11 and 20 years old.
What is rabies?
Dogs are the main source of rabies-causing deaths in people. It is an infectious, viral disease that is almost always fatal if supportive measures are not given immediately. Rabies is spread through bites or scratches via dog saliva.
It is advised that all dogs should be given anti-rabies shots to avoid spreading the disease. The following are signs and symptoms of dogs with rabies:
- Change in tone of bark
- Constant irritability/changes in attitude and behavior
- Excessive excitability
- Excessive salivation (hypersalivation), or frothy saliva
- Inability to swallow
- Dropped jaw
- Muscular lack of coordination
- Paralysis in the mandible and larynx
- Unusual shyness or aggression
How To Prevent Being Bitten By a Dog
Here are a few things that you can do to prevent your dogs from biting you or other people:
- Let your dog socialize with fellow dogs and other people. A well-socialized pet knows how to behave around other pets and people.
- Train your dogs in a manner where he will be more inclined to follow, rather than feel harassed. Be polite and kind when training.
- In some instances, dogs bite when playing. However, the magnitude of the bite may become too intense to cause harm. Therefore, always discipline your dog once you see him making a habit out of it. Use a verbal warning to let him know that he needs to stop.
- When you see your dog biting, always say “NO”. Puppies may be biting more often while they are teething. To address this, give them something to munch on instead, like a chew toy.
- Shout for help. Dogs are often alarmed and stop whatever they are doing when they hear a loud noise.
- The aggressive behavior of dogs can be caused by contained energy. Letting your dog run for a few minutes or walk at the park can help wear off his energy.
- Keep your dog away from stressful situations.
- Any severe problem with your dog’s behavior may need intervention from a professional trainer.
What To Do When A Dog is About to Attack You
Be quick to think and act when around dogs. You may never know when or how they can harm you. To be safe, if you happen to notice that a dog may attack you, follow these steps:
- Avoid screaming and running off.
- Stay still, place your hands at your sides and avoid eye contact with the dog.
- Once you notice that the dog loses interest to attack you, inch your way backward until the dog is out of sight.
- If the dog does attack, give your purse, jacket or anything that you can put between yourself and the dog.
- If you happen to fall on the ground, curl into a ball while protecting your ears and remain motionless. Never attempt to roll away.
What To Do When Your Dog Has Bitten Someone
If your dog happens to bite someone, do the following steps:
- Restrict your dog from going anywhere and immediately check the condition of the victim. If necessary, seek medical help.
- Inform the victim about the date when the dog was last vaccinated for rabies.
- Contact the animal control official who is responsible for acquiring information about your dog. If the dog needs to be quarantined for a specific time, ask whether he may be confined within your home or at your veterinarian’s clinic.
- To avoid future accidents, seek professional help by having your dog trained. In addition, consult with your veterinarian who may refer you to an animal behaviorist.
- If you think that your dog’s behavior is dangerous and cannot be controlled, do not give him to someone without fully evaluating the person’s ability to protect and prevent your dog from biting. You may be held liable for any damage that your dog does.
- Never entrust your dog to someone who wants a dangerous dog. When “mean” dogs are given to such people, these dogs are forced to live isolated and miserable lives, which only worsens their behavior. If you must give up your dog due to his violent behavior, consult with your veterinarian and with your local animal care about your options.
Owning a dog as a pet has a lot of benefits. However, dog owners must learn to take care of their dogs properly. This includes providing them a shelter to live, giving them nutritious food and clean water, and having them regularly checked by a veterinarian.
When dog owners learn how to be responsible in taking care for their dogs – including giving rabies shots to prevent the spread of disease – the impact of dog bites may be reduced significantly.