Dogs are often great companions and legitimate members of the family. However, they can also cause injurious dog bites with sometimes severe consequences.
In this case, a little of caution can go a long way when it comes to your dog bite risk. Here are a few smart steps for owners and people to take to avoid animal attacks.
How dog owners can prevent bites
Pet owners should properly socialize their dogs as early as possible to ensure they are comfortable around lots of different people and animals. Owners must also use leashes or harnesses at all times, unless in an area where pets can roam off-leash.
Spaying and neutering pets is also important. While it prevents the pet population from growing out of control, spaying and neutering also reduces aggressiveness in many cases. For example, an un-neutered male dog is likely to fight other male dogs if there is a female nearby. These animals are also more likely to escape from the home, which can result in unwanted encounters with other people and pets.
How people can avoid dog bites
While it is the owner’s responsibility to keep their pet secure, there are also steps you can take to lower your risk. Always ask for permission before petting a dog, no matter how friendly it appears. Never attempt to interact with a dog that is eating or sleeping, as you might startle them. Never reach over a fence to pet a dog, as canines are very territorial and might believe it is necessary to defend their home from you.
Whether a dog is familiar or unfamiliar, keep an eye on their body language to assess risk. Any pet that appears tense and fearful, or that is baring its teeth, is likely to react aggressively and may even lash out.