Each year almost 5 million dog bites are reported across North America and many that go unreported. Veterinarians and their staff make up a very small percentage of those bites in spite of their obvious risk factors. What can we learn from them to avoid being bitten by a dog?

Being aware of a dog’s warning signs can help people avoid the dog’s teeth. Common sense tells us if a dog is growling and showing its teeth in aggression it will or is about to bite, but did you know there are other warning signs might be less obvious? These warning signs include raised hackles, overall tenseness, and even a slowly wagging tail. Veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and other veterinary staff have learned to quickly read the dog’s body language and adjust their movements and actions accordingly. But even then some dogs don’t show signs at all and can attack suddenly without warning. You must always be on guard and be cautious when working with dogs. But not just dogs, cats can bite and scratch aggressively too.

Not all dogs will read from the same book or have the same behaviour. Some pets have been punished for growling or snarling and therefore may provide little to no warning before lashing out at someone. Again always tread with caution.

Prospective dog owners should research their desired breed and then take the time and effort to attend puppy socialization classes and even obedience training. If you have children in your household, their education should also be considered. Young children, especially young boys, should be taught never to approach a strange dog. Additionally, if the behavior of the dog seems to be unusual, teach children to stand still, keeping eyes downcast, and to remain quiet. Children should never run towards an unknown dog, even if the owner is present. Teaching children to ask an owner about petting a new dog can be a big step in avoid potential dog bite situations.

For more information about avoiding dog bites, contact us at +1 (604) 825-8640‬ about appropriate dog breeds and effective dog training. We are always here to help answer your questions.

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Chilliwack Animal Hospital