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Dog Bites: Reasons Why & Ways To Prevent

Sometimes the sweetest, most devoted dog can gnash his teeth into your tender skin. I’ll never forget the first time my dog Rigby nipped me. He truly is the sweetest miniature schnauzer and we were all a little shocked. After thinking about it for a few minutes we determined he probably thought that after bathing my son, that I was going to bathe him next (something I usually don’t do) and was scared. Thankfully he didn’t even really break the skin, but I think that was the point. He had just gotten over some digestion issues, so he hadn’t been feeling that well that week. And he was just giving me a, “I’m scared! Don’t take me off the bed!”

Why did my dog bite me?

There are so many different factors that can contribute to getting a dog bite. Also, these bites can also vary in seriousness and intensity as well. If you feel like your bite is severe, make sure to seek medical attention before trying to treat it at home.

  • Pain
  • Fear
  • Possessiveness
  • Prey Drive
  • Puppy mouthing
  • Maternal Instinct

How can I prevent bites?

The best way to deal with a bite is to avoid it in the first place. And more often than not our dogs give us clear signs before they bite. If you notice these behaviors, they may be your dog’s way of telling you that they aren’t comfortable. Some signals are more obvious than not, so make sure to know them all.

  • Growling or showing their teeth
  • Stiff wagging tag
  • Avoiding eye contact or whale eye (showing mostly the whites of the eye)
  • Fur standing on end
  • Rigid body stance
  • Licking lips or yawning

How do I deal with it after the fact?

Get care immediately if the wound is deep and bleeding profusely. Also, if it’s not your dog or if your dog’s shots are out of date to make sure to contact a professional about the bite.

For not as serious or deep wounds:

For a superficial wound with broken skill, clean it with running water. Then, sterilize with hydrogen peroxide or isopropyl alcohol. After that, use a topical antibiotic like Neosporin and bandage the wound.

Puncture wounds:

According to Cesar’s Way, “Don’t be afraid to let the wound bleed. Unless you’ve lost a lot of blood or it is gushing out forcefully, or the wound is in your head or neck, (in which case call 911 immediately), wait five minutes. The flow of blood out of the wound will help to cleanse it.”

If the bleeding does not stop after applying pressure call for emergency help. If the bleeding does stop you can clean the wound accordingly.

Dealing with their behavior

One bite doesn’t mean your dog is all of a sudden aggressive. It could be a behavior that stemmed from a one time incident (like with my dog Rigsby). Also, don’t keep punishing your dog long after the fact. They won’t connect the discipline with it once it’s long in the past. But there are things you can do to get to the root of the behavior and help prevent it from happening again.

  • Contact your vet first. This could be a sign of a hidden pain or injury.
  • If you feel like they may need some help with behavior and budding aggression contact a profession. Find a local canine behaviorist for help.
  • Crate your pet if you feel they will be uncomfortable around guests and children.
  • Make sure to practice training with lots of positive reinforcement.

When your dog bites or even strong nips at you, it is a shocking experience. You can have a range of emotions from being mad, hurt, worry and more. However, the best thing you can do for dog bites is to learn how to prevent them. After that, make sure to keep it clean and sterilized. And never forget there are tons of professionals you can call for help.