What To Do If Your Dog Is Bitten By Another Dog
Pet owners do all they can to ensure their pets are happy, healthy, and safe. Most dogs enjoy social time with other dogs. The dogs and their owners can benefit from long walks and trips to the dog park.
That is until things get out of hand, and another dog bites their pup. Bite wounds can be frightening, painful, and dangerous for the dogs as well as their owners. While we hope this will never happen to your pet, knowing what to do can be extremely helpful.
Preventing a Bite in the First Place
The best way to handle a dog bite is to avoid one. One way to do this is by paying close attention to your dog’s behavior. Below is a list of cues that your dog might be in experiencing stress:
- Are they growling, whining, or barking? Listen to your dog. Their vocalizing is a source of information about how they are feeling.
- Paying attention to their body language is important too. A tucked tail is a signal that they are feeling vulnerable or insecure.
- Another way they can communicate anxiety is by flattening their ears back against their heads.
- Look at your pup’s eyes. If they are displaying “whale eye,” when the whites of their eyes are showing, this is showing you their anxiety.
- Panting, lip licking and yawning are other stress reactions.
- When sniffing seems excessive, this could be to avoid confronting the animal that is stressing them.
- Is your dog pacing? This behavior may signal a stressor.
Your dog may anticipate a confrontation before you do. If you pay attention to your dog, you can keep it safer. When you find that your dog is signaling stress, it might be in both of your best interests to go elsewhere.
Other Dogs Body Language
While it is essential to pay attention to your dog, you should also keep an eye on those around you. You should keep your eyes peeled for some signs since they can be signs of aggressive intentions.
- Hard stare: Dogs who are displaying a hard stare are behaving menacingly.
- Guarding behavior: If the dog is actively guarding something, it may lower their heads below shoulder level and stretch its head forward by lengthening its neck.
- Raised hackles: Another danger sign might be when the hair on their back is raised.
- Frozen posturing: Often, a dog will become frighteningly still before an attack.
- Straight, stiff tail: When a dog’s tail is straight and stiff, it may be an aggressive dog’s precursor to an attack.
- Wagging to signal aggression: While a wagging tail typically means a friendly, happy dog, this may not be the case if they are wagging only the tip or if the wags are sharp, tight gestures.
Avoiding a dog bite is always best. But, it is not always possible. By paying attention to the body language of the dogs around you, you can prevent a potentially tragic situation.
What to do if a Dog Bite Happens?
Dog fights can be terrifying and dangerous. It can be hard to know what to do in the heat of the moment. Every dog owner should know a few key rules of thumb when dealing with a dog bite incident.
- Avoid getting between the dogs. In the flurry of teeth, the intended victim could be bypassed, and you could be bitten. By getting between the fighting animals, you may be bitten as well.
- Even if your dog is typically docile, a dog in pain and trying to avoid further pain may not behave as it normally would. Fear and pain can cause them to strike out at anyone who touches them, even their beloved owner.
- Speak to the other dog’s owner and exchange important information. It is best to ensure the dog who bit yours is vaccinated.
- Exchange contact information so you may call them after visiting the veterinarian.
- Administer first aid promptly. Apply pressure to wounds that are bleeding.
- Clean the wound with warm water and soap if you are not immediately taking your dog to the veterinarian.
- Avoid alcohol and peroxide on the wounds. These methods of first aid can damage the healthy tissue around their injuries.
- We suggest taking your pet to the vet to assess their injuries. Depending on the injuries, they may suggest antibiotics to avoid infection and pain medicine for discomfort.
- Since puncture wounds can sink deeper than is easily visible, your veterinarian will ensure they haven’t penetrated your dog’s abdominal or chest cavity.
- Your dog’s doctor will check for “pocketing” beneath smaller wounds. They may place a drain there to discourage bacteria trapping, which could lead to a severe infection.
- When smaller dogs are lifted and shaken, the vet will test for lung bruising, formally known as pulmonary contusions. These changes may occur over 24 to 48 hours, and difficulty breathing may signal a problem.
A trip to the vet may ensure the immediate physical harm is headed off. Though healing, physically and psychologically, may not happen so fast.
Helping Your Dog Recover
It is important that your dog’s activity is minimized while they recover. The extent of the injuries will determine what they can do. But, if there are stitches or drains, limiting their activity for the weeks following the bite is best.
Your dog’s natural tendency will be toward licking its wounds. But, if they have sutures, they should avoid licking them since there is a chance they may rip them out. The cone is never a fan favorite among the canines, but they can aid in healing if your dog needs to avoid licking.
Follow your dog’s veterinarian’s instructions precisely. Set a reminder on your phone so that you administer pain meds and antibiotics when they are due. Attend all follow-up visits to make sure the wounds are healing properly and to remove stitches or drains.
More Tips for the What to do Immediately Following the Bite
You will likely feel addled following the attack, but you should remove your pet from the situation and get them somewhere safe. If they can walk, let them. This gives them more control over the situation and may be less stressful. It will allow you to see how they are walking and if they are bleeding.
Be cautious. A frightened, injured animal may bite, even when they are typically mild-mannered and gentle. Carry the dog when it cannot walk, but handle it carefully.
Paying for Your Dog’s Care After an Attack
It is important to exchange information with the dog’s owner whose pet attacked yours. Let them know how much your dog’s vet bills were. Most responsible pet owners will want to cover those for you.
If the attack happened on someone else’s property, the dog bite might be covered by their homeowner’s insurance. Discuss this with them after the incident.
If you need legal advice about the situation, contacting an attorney can answer many of your questions.
Knowing How to Handle Dog Bites
Knowing what to do to avoid a dog bite is the best thing you can do for your pet. But, sometimes, things still happen, and it is best to know what to do before you are faced with a hazardous situation. Take precautions to keep your dog and yourself safe, and seek medical attention when necessary.
Hopefully, this is the type of knowledge that you will never need, and you can always enjoy your time with your four-legged best friend without incident. However, it is always best to be prepared.