While a vast majority of dogs are friendly and welcoming, others do not have anything related to an even temperament. In reality, any canine can be provoked to bite regardless of size, age, or gender. While certain breeds are singled out for attacks, history and behavior play a prominent role in their proclivity to bite.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports the following:
- More than 4.5 million people are victims of dog bites in the United States
- One in five bite victims mandates medical attention
- Half of all victims are children and usually occur during everyday activities and interactions with “friendly” dogs
Proactive measures that can prevent attacks
Specific steps can help to prevent dog bites, whether at home or walking down a local street. Knowing what triggers an attack is a key to prevention. The most common reasons that dogs bite include the following:
- Reacting to the need to defend their territory
- Suddenly scared or startled
- Feeling threatened
- Protecting what is valuable to them, such as food, a toy, or their puppies
- Suffering from illness or injury
Owners who want to minimize the chances of their dog biting can take preventative measures. Socialization at a young age is of paramount importance, whether it’s people or other animals. They should also be responsible for keeping their dogs leashed in these and different settings. Many attacks result from irresponsible owners who fail to train, exercise, or neuter/spay their dogs.
The trauma of a dog attack goes beyond the physical pain of a bite. Emotional trauma can lead to a lifelong fear of being around dogs. Negligent owners must be held responsible when their dogs are unrestrained and dangerous.