Does Your Dog Bite

Does your dog bite? Have you ever been bitten? Know of a dog that has not yet bitten, but you know the clock is ticking. One day that little one is going to latch on. Hopefully it's a little one.

Does Your Dog Bite

Each year it is estimated that over four million people in the US are bitten by a dog. With children, unfortunately the most popular target. Though most bites are minor, nearly one million people need to seek medical attention.

Four million people is small number relative to the over 300 million in the US. So the probability of a dog bite is low, less than 2% of the population. But for those who have suffered such an attack, it is anything but trivial. It can be traumatic both before and after the bite.

Why Do Dogs Bite

As a runner I have had my share of "run ins" with dogs. One thing I have learned is to never sneak up on a dog. Especially a more protective breed with the owner nearby.  Should I approach a dog out for a walk with their owner and they don't see me, I do my best to make noise.  Or should I run by their house with the owner in the garage or outside, I cross the street.

But why do dogs bite? The most obvious answer is if they are being threatened or to thwart  off a perceived danger. Though fortunately, most dogs simply bark and hope you move away. Their raised fur is a clear sign they are as scared, if not more than you.

Other reasons range from everything such as maternal instincts, protecting their possessions, like toys or food. Even touching a dog in an area that is injured or sore can lead to a quick reminder to step away.

What To Do When Threatened

So should you be bitten or sense a bite is imminent what to do? Here is some good information courtesy of the Humane Society, How To Avoid A Dog Bite.

  • Resist the impulse to scream and run away.
  • Remain motionless, hands at your sides, and avoid eye contact with the dog.
  • Once the dog loses interest in you, slowly back away until they are out of sight.
  • If the dog does attack, "feed" them your jacket, purse, bicycle or anything that you can put between yourself and the dog.
  • If you fall or are knocked to the ground, curl into a ball with your hands over your ears and remain motionless. Try not to scream or roll around.

If you are bitten or attacked by a dog, try not to panic.

  • Immediately wash the wound thoroughly with soap and warm water.
  • Contact your physician for additional care and advice.
  • Report the bite to your local animal care and control agency. Tell the animal control official everything you know about the dog, including their owner's name and the address where they live. If the dog is a stray, tell the animal control official what the dog looks like, where you saw them, whether you've seen them before and in which direction they went.


Dog bites are scary for both parties. Whether you are bitten or not, it is traumatic.  For you and the dog. Though the odds of a dog bite are very low as discussed above, a little knowledge goes a long way.

As the "stranger" coming in proximity with a dog, read their body language and keep a safe distance. For the owner of the dog you have a responsibility to ensure both the safety of the dog and the stranger.

If your dog shows aggression then it is your responsibility to do your best to address the cause of such behavior. And if a solution cannot be found consider limiting interaction with strangers. Avoid walks in public areas. And definitely keep them on a leash and in your control.

No Shot, Dog Bite

Sorry, but I cannot resist. Whenever I hear the words "dog bite" I cannot help but think of one of the funniest Seinfeld episode's ever. Enjoy the next thirty four seconds of your life.

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