Being bitten by a dog can be a scary event, and even if you sometimes do everything you can to prevent this from happening, you may die. That is why in this article we will address the reasons why dogs bite, since deciphering the first signs by which the dog tells you that it will soon become aggressive is the best way to stay safe.
We will also talk about the means of prevention for both adults and children. Unfortunately, they are more prone to being bitten because they are smaller and can not react sensibly to the dog’s signals. Last, but not least, even if we think that prevention is actually the best cure, we will analyze everything you need to know about treating a dog’s bite, so you can be well prepared.
Causes for dogs to bite
Dogs bite for many reasons, and even if you think it is malice or aggressiveness, in most cases it is just defensive behavior. So, what do the dogs have to watch out for?
Something they have
If you get too close to the place where the dog has food, water or maybe a litter of puppies, you can bite. The reason is that the dog sees him threatening his most essential belongings that can equal his survival. You can avoid this snack more easily if you are not dealing with a stray dog, since the owner can advise you where not to go.
Your owner and your property.
Dogs are very loyal creatures by instinct and will stop at nothing for their humans. On the other hand, dogs are also quite territorial, so if they feel that they are invading or taking too many freedoms in their territory, they will put it in their place. So try to read the dog’s non-verbal cues and slowly move away from the place or person you consider off limits.
You should never try to take things that the dog has or move too much in your space just because it’s fun to test your limits. Often, children can find these kinds of fun things, and if you see yours teasing a dog, it’s better to stop the game quickly.
If you’re dealing with an older and grumpy dog, you may not have the patience to deal with humans in the best way, so you should be very careful with him. In addition, you should never ignore a sick or injured dog as an impotent and, therefore, friendly, because this type of dog is actually more threatened by their actions and therefore more likely to bite.
In addition, a dog may bite the possibility that you yourself have hurt it by mistake, stepping on it or playing with it too abruptly.
If the dog comes from a herding breed, he can see all the humans, but especially the children, like his sheep, the animals he has to keep in one place. Therefore, if you have not yet learned the inhibition of the bite, you may have a tendency to pinch that can be improved if you start acting uncontrollably or aggressively towards it.
So do not shout, run, or try to push him, he will punish you like the rebellious sheep you are.
The prevention treatment
As we have said before, prevention is the best treatment for dog bites and you should know that a dog not only bites from nothing, but there are always signs that indicate the possibility of this happening.
However, these signals can be really imperceptible to humans and their discomfort can be confused with tolerance. And, surprisingly, it can be a long time, even months, before the dog feels he has had enough and proceeds to bite the innocent victim who has not understood the clues below.
- The dog tries to get away from you.
- The dog often turns its head in the opposite direction to that of your face.
- The dog often looks at you with a defensive countenance.
- The dog is not excited to be near you, but yawns when you try to interact with it.
- The dog licks frequently after you have stopped petting it.
But these are the signs that can be noticed very subtly and for a period of time growing before the actual incident. On the other hand, there are other signs that show that the dog is preparing to bite him now, so his body language will show very strong feelings of aggressiveness, defensiveness or apprehension such as:
Making yourself look bigger
An aggressive dog adopts this strategy because he is letting you know that he is not someone to play with, since he is big and strong.
So here is how dogs make themselves look more impressive:
- The ears are up and forward.
- The fur on its back and / or tail can be lifted.
- The tail is held up and, sometimes, it can be moved.
- The posture is rigid and the legs straight.
- Looking directly at you and moving towards you.
- Showing their teeth, while they growl or bark.
Making yourself look smaller
If, on the contrary, the dog in question is very scared or anxious, he will try the opposite strategy of making himself look smaller, so he transmits the following message: “Hey, I am not a threat to you, but I will defend myself.” If the push comes to push! The dog does this by:
- Squatting on the ground.
- Head down.
- Repeated licking his mouth.
- Putting the tail between the legs.
- Flattening your years ago.
- Avoid direct eye contact.
- Exposing your belly.
- Defensively growling.
- Trying to slowly withdraw from you.
Sending mixed signals
Some dogs may indistinctly use the signals of the two previous categories, since real-life situations are not all in black and white.
Basically, it is best to stay away from any dog that shows fear or aggression around you and try not to confuse an apprehensive or defensive behavior with a docile and obedient one.
The prevention treatment continued: safety tips.
Since any dog can bite your child, even the most innocent or the smallest, it is better to advise your children never to provoke a dog. It may seem friendly and cute, but if it feels threatened it will act instinctively.
Surprisingly, statistics show that most dog bites do not come from stray dogs, but from dogs you really know, and that is why learning to read their signals and behave accordingly is something that children have to learn.
In addition, children are often impulsive and noisy, in addition to enjoying a good career. However, all these actions are perceived as aggressive by dogs, even if the child does not intend to harm him.
That said, you should not:
- Approach, touch or try to play with a dog that is doing something else, such as eating, playing or sleeping. You should especially avoid bitches that are interacting with their puppies, because that dramatically increases the possibility of bites.
- Approach a dog that is growling, growling, barking or obviously aggressive.
- Get close to a dog that is obviously afraid of you.
- Try petting or playing with dogs you’ve never seen before. The best you can do is ask the dog owner, and only if they say that everything is fine if you approach the dog.
- Try to stroke an unknown dog in the head. That’s the first and most common mistake we make when we try to interact with the dogs, when we should ask for their approval, letting them smell our hand and gently touch it under the mouth.
- Try to touch a dog that is in a closed space, because dogs are very territorial.
- Run, cry or scream if a dog approaches. In fact, that only awakens the hunting or grazing instincts of the dog, and sees you / your child as a prey or wandering sheep. The best course of action is to stay still and calm until the dog loses interest and only later moves away slowly.
- Fight or fret after a fall. If your child fell to the ground after trying to run away from the dog, he should sit still and curl up in a fetal position, making a kind of ball by sticking his knees in his stomach and placing his arms around his head. Head to protect your neck. That will determine the dog to sniff it and then leave.
- Overcome a dog. In the case of a real attack, getting ahead of the dog is not only impossible but also arouses the dog’s pursuit instincts. Therefore, an attack can be best resolved by distracting the dog’s attention to some other “enemy”, such as his jacket or bag, which may come between you and your terminator jaws.
Prevention tips for pet owners.
If you have a dog yourself, you should know that they are unpredictable animals, unless they are well trained, and even if you can never 100% guarantee that your dog will not bite anyone, obedience training is the best chance to really reduce it. The risk of your dog harming another human being.
Here are some tips you should follow to further reduce the chances of your dog biting:
Adopt a safe animal shelter
That way, you will have the whole history of the dog, including your parents, your personality and the way you act with other people and dogs.
Neuter the dog fast
Neutered or sterilized dogs are less aggressive and, therefore, less likely to bite. The best time is before your first heat, and the dog can only have 2 months, as long as it is healthy enough to support this medical procedure.
Socialize the dog
A dog that has undergone an adequate process of socialization will be safer and more rational. Conversely, a dog that has not been with other people or animals is often more likely to make impulsive decisions based on fear, which results in a greater likelihood of aggression and biting.
When you socialize the dog, you give him the opportunity to really know his surroundings and learn new and incredible things about him every day. Therefore, you will feel comfortable and comfortable in all kinds of new situations instead of being scared and feeling the need to defend yourself.
However, do not push your dog to progress quickly, but let him explore the world around him on his own.
Train your dog
Obedience training can start at 8 weeks, and you can take the dog to the training classes or do the necessary research and teach him the basics on his own. The most important thing is to stay calm, be constant, be firm and show the dog that he has nothing to fear when you are around. Obedience training serves as an effective communication between you and your dog, and therefore, you will learn to suppress your instincts and to follow your commands.
Make him feel loved
If your dog spends a lot of time alone, away from you and your family, in a closed space or even chained, you will feel very frustrated and you will feel scared. That’s why dogs that do not really consider themselves part of their human family are more likely to bite, their aggressive tendencies are cultivated through isolation, fear and boredom.
Know the signs
If you have made your dog really part of your family, you should probably understand your nonverbal behavior, as well as what triggers it. If you have pain, are sick or hurt, if you do not like strangers, the postman or other dogs, if you hate loud noises like fireworks and storms, pay special attention to their behavior and supervise them more when you feel uncomfortable. situation unchaining for him.
If you show signs of fear and apprehension to your visitors, it is best to keep it tied or muzzled until you become familiar or feel more comfortable with new people. Then, you can gradually eliminate these restrictions, once the dog has shown an improved behavior and greater acceptance.
Never leave your dog unsupervised with children
Since younger children and young children are often unpredictable, noisy and have a tendency to play more or less, it is better to be in the same room with them and with the dog. At first, you can muzzle your dog to be sure, but children should also learn how and when to approach the dog, how and when it is okay to play with it and why they should respect their safe space.
Vaccinate your dog.
As we have said before, you can never 100% prevent your dog from biting other people, including, so you should keep your vaccinations updated and take it to the vet as often as necessary. Dog bites are dangerous because they can transmit all kinds of parasites, as well as rabies, if not properly immunized.
Medical interventions in case of dog bites.
Medical treatment for dog bites is something you can become familiar with, especially if you have an aggressive dog, if one of your friends has a dog like that, or if you live in a dangerous neighborhood with lost stray dogs.
That said, if you are the victim of a dog bite, you should get to a safe place as soon as possible, to avoid being bitten again.
Once you are sure, you can try to clean the wound and properly disinfect it with hydrogen peroxide before going to the hospital. You can even bandage it and apply a tourniquet to prevent the risk of infections. It would be best to keep the limb elevated, especially if the mark of the bite is quite deep and if there is a lot of blood, to help the blood clot faster and the wound to close.
In addition to this, if you know the owner of the dog, he should be able to provide you with valuable information about his medical history and the time he was vaccinated against rabies.
If you have been attacked by a stray dog, you can get these details with the help of the animal control centers or with the help of the police.
However, because the wounds of the dogs are very dangerous and you can not evaluate the type of damage that has been done under the skin or what infection could have been transmitted, it is always better to seek medical attention and go to the hospital. righ now.
You should go to the doctor without delay, especially if you notice that the wound is beginning to puncture or lacerate. In addition, if the injury begins to feel really painful, it is a warning trigger of something more dangerous that happens below the superficial level of the skin, like an infection.
Signs of infection in case of dog bite include:
- Drainage / pus from the wound.
People who do not experience these symptoms may not want to go to the doctor, especially if the wound is not very deep or has abrasions. In these situations, however, you should check the rage status of the perpetrator-dog immediately, since if you have rabies it should be treated quickly. This is because rabies can be successfully cured when it is discovered in its early stages, but if it is not detected, it is a deadly disease that causes the death of the victim.
Treatment problems in dog bites
That said, dog bites should be treated in 3 levels:
- The superficial wound of the skin.
- The internal injury of muscle, bone and nerves.
- The possible infection associated with the sting.
As such, even though the skin wound may look pretty bad, it is not as important as the internal damage to your organs or bones. The reason why most people seem more interested in their aesthetic appearance is that they see it as an important indicator of what is below.
Unfortunately, he may have a small, good looking injury on the outside and a really big damage on the inside. That is why the doctor will concentrate more on the injuries that have the potential to leave your body incapacitated to perform its normal functions.
Also, if you have an unpleasant-looking wound on your hand, you should not think too much about the healing potential (which, we admit, is quite high), but be more concerned about a severed tendon that can keep your hand from moving correctly. .
In addition to this, you should not ignore the risks of infection, because along with the bite bacteria the dog’s mouth can be transmitted to the bloodstream, or can be transferred to the muscles and actually damage their internal organs. The most common bacteria that are transmitted through the saliva of a dog during the bite are:
The medical consultation
When you go to the doctor for a treatment for your dog’s bite, you may have to answer these questions about the attack and your medical history:
- Can the dog be available for observation?
- Was it a defensive or aggressive bite?
- Where is the bite?
- What is your medical history?
Then, it will be examined to determine if there has been any damage to your muscles, tendons, nerves or bones.
Next, you will undergo local anesthesia so that the wound is properly checked. That way, the doctor can confirm if you have internal damage.
Once these steps are completed, the doctor can proceed to clean the wound to remove all dirt and bacteria, using a saline solution. If you do not seem to be at risk of infection, your injury will be stitched for cosmetic reasons with respect to the subsequent appearance of your scar. On the contrary, if your risk of infection is high, the wound will be left to heal on its own.
But, apart from this, if the injury looks quite serious and deep, you may need to undergo surgical treatment. This usually happens when you have lost a lot of skin and blood, and if your internal organs are affected. However, if the dog bit his face, he may also need total anesthesia to keep him still under the painful procedure.
Last but not least, you may be prescribed some antibiotics to help you heal faster, even if there are no obvious signs of infection, but that depends more on how your doctor evaluates the entire situation.
That said, we maintain our opinion that prevention is the key and the best way to treat 99% of any dog bite. Therefore, be wary of non-verbal communication from dogs, keep your children safe and avoid dangerous places where vagrants roam in packages.