Reasons Why Dogs Bite and How to Prevent it

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Male or female, big or small, old or young, any dog can bite at any time. Even the cuttest and the calmest dogs can bite if provoked. Dogs bite as a reaction toward something. Read on to discover the most common triggers.

Dogs bite. No matter how big they are, or how old they are, any dog can bite. Even the smallest dogs can demonstrate their teeth power and make a sudden bite move.

When it comes to dogs and bite, the most important is the understanding of the bite.

Dogs can bite as a reaction to something. Since they are non-verbal beings opposite to humans, so they ally on non-verbal communication to communicate with us.

If the dog finds himself in a stressful situation, he may bite to defend himself or his territory. Also, dogs can bite due to various reasons. Let’s discover more.

Why Do Dogs Bite?

Dogs communicate by using body language. Their only way to communicate with us is to show us when they are in trouble, or when they are scared.

Truth be told, some dogs are more vocal than others are, but one thing is common to dogs of any size – they will always use body language to speak to you. So, body movements are normal for dogs, and in a way, they are natural.

Bites happen every day across the globe for various reasons. Still, the highest number of bites occurs when dogs feel they are threatened in some way. It’s an instinct that’s always present in domesticated dogs.

This is why it’s important to anyone who interacts with dogs to know dogs’ psychology and understand what may provoke aggressive behavior.

The Most Common Reasons To Why Dogs Bite

When something scares you, you will do all that you can to neutralize that feeling, right? It’s kind of similar to dogs. Again: dogs bite when they feel threatened in some way.

People often provoke dogs without knowing that they are disturbing them. This is common in people who aren’t familiar with dogs or aren’t dog owners.

Then again, some people simply want to see how dogs react to various stimulants.

Here are the most common reasons why dogs bite:

  • A dog may bite to defend himself.
  • A dog may bite to defend his territory, or a member of his pack, which may include human members as well.
  • Running away from a dog, even during play.
  • A dog with high anxiety levels may bite anyone who approaches him.
  • A dog who is injured, in pain, or ill may bite.

These are all situations that can happen anytime, and it’s up to people to know what triggers dogs and how to prevent any bite.

How to Prevent Dog Bites

When it comes to bite prevention, training and early socialization are everything.

Dogs thrive when you use positive reinforcement and keep training fun and active.

As a dog owner, you are directly responsible for your dog’s life and his actions. There is no place for moments like ‘I didn’t know that he would do that,’ or ‘No, my dog would never bite.’

This attitude is what usually leads to countless accidents. Any dog can be triggered at any time, and you may witness a dog’s complete transformation in a matter of seconds.

A calm and easy-going dog can transfer to a real beast in a second if he feels that he or his pack members are in danger.

Remember: Your dog’s behavior is entirely on you. Therefore, you are the first line of defense in preventing dog bites.

You must do whatever you can to keep others safe and keep your dog from biting.

Here is what you can do:

  • Make sure that your dog goes through basic training and keep up your dog’s training program throughout his life.
  • Socialize your dog. Early socialization is the key when it comes to a well-behaved dog. Allo your dog to meet and interact with different types of people, including elderly, children, disabled people, so he can get familiar with people.
  • Expose your dog daily to new surroundings, smells, places, and loud noises.
  • Pay attention to your dog and know triggers that may lead to aggression.
  • Never discipline your dog by using violent or aggressive punishment.
  • Always use positive reinforcement.
  • Continuously reward your dog for desirable behavior.
  • Keep your door on a leash or in a fenced area. Know your dog before you let him off his leash.
  • Keep your dog in sight at all times.
  • If you suspect that your dog has aggressive tendencies, always warn others.
  • If necessary use a muzzle.
  • Keep your dog’s vaccines up to date.
  • Keep regular veterinarian check-ups.

What to Do If Your Dog Bites Someone

If your dog bites a person, it’s essential to act quickly. First, restrain the dog and then immediately assist the victim.

The bite wound should be washed with soap and warm water if possible, and then go into doctor’s is a must.

It’s mandatory to have a dog’s passport on you with some breeds, so make sure that you know regulations.

Of course, you should remain as calm as possible. Once you check the victim’s condition, make sure to see if any witnesses saw the incident to obtain their contact information.

If a bite happens in your home, place your dog in a crate or secure room. The victim will still need professional medical assistance. Always offer to call an urgent-care facility or 911 if necessary.

When you have a dog, its always a great option to have on hand first aid kit.

The next step can be really difficult, but its a must. You need to contact your local animal control office and inform them of the incident.

They may instruct you to take additional action, and you must follow them. These measures may vary from state to state, so it’s important to know the local rules.

If you don’t have your dog’s medical records on-hand, you should get them from your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Your dog’s papers are proof of your dog’s current rabies vaccination. Plus, these papers victims will want to see or the authorities. You should also inform the victim about your dog’s vaccination state.

Be Aware Of Potential Legal Consequences

Having a dog is a huge responsibility. When unplanned things happen, taking responsibility becomes even more critical. If it comes to a bite, there is always a chance of legal consequences.

There is always a chance that the victim will pursue a civil suit against you, so consider consulting a legal professional.

What Should I Do If My Dog Bites Another Pet?

The same principles apply if your dog bites another dog:

  • Restrain your dog
  • Stay calm
  • Check on the other dog and his owner

Don’t forget that dogs may bite when they are in pain. If it’s a dog, the victim should be muzzled to avoid further injuries.

If the victim is a cat, you can wrap her in a towel to protect yourself from being clawed.

Offer assistance to the other pet’s owner, such as volunteering to transport the pet to the nearest veterinary hospital.

Some pet owners, offer to pay for the veterinary fees associated with the bite, but it all depends on the circumstances.

How to Interact Safely With a Dog

Dogs are cute and friendly. They love spending time with their humans and running for hours.

Since they are so cute, it can be easy for humans to get excited when they see one. Still, manners should be controlled, because a dog can quickly turn on someone he doesn’t know.

Even if you don’t have a dog of your own, you and other people in your surrounding need to know how to interact with dogs and when its ok and how to approach one.

With that on the mind, here is how you can interact safely with a dog:

  • Never try to approach or touch an unfamiliar dog without first asking for the owner’s permission. If the dog’s owner isn’t present, don’t go near the dog.
  • Never approach a dog that’s eating, sleeping, or caring for puppies.
  • Don’t touch, approach, or touch an injured dog. Instead, contact animal control for assistance.
  • Never leave a child alone with a dog.
  • If a dog corners you, remain still, and avoid direct eye contact. Don’t scream or run. When the dog stops paying attention to you, slowly back away.
  • If you’re knocked over by a dog, fall to your side in a fetal position and cover your face and head. Remain still and calm.

The Bottom Line

Biting can happen for several reasons. Owning a dog means that occasionally you must deal with an unpleasant situation that may include unwanted biting.

No matter how big or small the dog is, any dog can bite if he feels threatened or thinks that his family members are in trouble. Biting accident can happen during the playtime, even when dogs are just more playful.

Still, you should carefully monitor playtime and react accordingly. Make sure that you have in your home first aid kit, and to the reserved place for dog’s documentation, so that you know where it’s in a case of emergency.

When and if a bite happens, make sure that you stay calm, regardless of painful and stressful situations.

Restrain your dog and help the victim. Do your best to stay neutral and contact local authorities.