As dog ownership rates continue to increase, dog bite injuries are becoming more common here in South Carolina. There are thousands of bite incidents each year, with injuries that range from minor wounds to major trauma. While we may not always know what makes a dog more or less likely to bite someone, there are several things that have been identified as potential risk factors for these kinds of encounters. If you want to keep yourself, and your family, safe from dangerous situations involving canines, here are five things that you should watch out for.
If you notice any of the following about a dog, or a situation at large, use extreme caution!
Animals that are neglected by their guardians or owners are more likely to bite, and this is very important to keep in mind if you see or interact with any animal that appears to be suffering. Not having access to fresh food and water, shelter, and medical care can make anyone anxious, scared, and aggressive, so steer clear and call the proper authorities.
Dogs are sometimes the victims of horrible abuse by humans, and this pattern of trauma can correlate with more aggressive behavior, especially towards people. If you know or suspect that a dog is being intentionally starved, kicked, burned, or otherwise threatened, call your local animal control and avoid approaching the animal.
Depending on the area, you may see a dog or a pack of dogs wandering the streets, and this may present an especially risky situation. When an animal is running free, without a human in charge, their behavior may be unpredictable. Use extreme caution around these dogs, and don’t ever try to capture them- this may lead to a bite.
Even with the most lovable pets, it’s important to pay attention to their body language and respect their boundaries. If you, or your children, push your dog’s buttons, they may lash out in fear or self-defense. Do your research on dog body language, and teach others to do the same.
Nobody likes to be startled, but with dogs, this may come with consequences. Don’t ever sneak up behind a dog, make sudden loud noises, or sudden fast movements- this may put them into fear/defense mode, or ignite their prey-drive instincts.