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Why Do Dogs Bite?

By Odie Blog Editors on May 12, 2022

Although we may forget that all dogs can bite because they’re so lovable, these bites can cause some serious damage. Adults and, especially, young children should be taught to approach dogs with caution. Particularly dogs that are unfamiliar to them. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, more than 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year and 800,000 of these individuals receive medical attention for these bites. Half of these victims are children. 

Knowing a dog’s reasoning for biting and understanding the proper way to approach a dog will help you avoid this scenario altogether. Here are some reasons why dogs bite:

Fear

Fear is the main reason that dogs will bite humans. They’re afraid for their own safety and are doing what they think is best to protect themselves. It’s extremely common for dogs to become fearful when approached by someone they’re unfamiliar with. Delivery men are constantly at risk of getting bitten because they are delivering packages to hundreds of homes on a daily basis. 

When attempting to approach a dog, always make sure that they do not feel cornered and never approach them from behind. Remember to face forward and never turn your own back to a fearful dog. Always stay aware of your surroundings. 

Possessiveness

Dogs are known for being possessive animals, especially when it comes to their owner, food, and toys. This can apply to any and all of their belongings. Never interrupt a dog while they are eating and never try to take away one of their belongings. This is especially true for unfamiliar dogs because you do not know how they will react. 

Pain

Dogs that are in pain can bite out of frustration with their own situation. They’re unable to eliminate the amount of pain they’re feeling so they are projecting their feelings. If you notice that a dog is licking a wound or is seriously injured, be cautious. Dogs that are experiencing intense levels of pain can attack or lash out. 

Protective Aggression

Many domesticated dogs still have a “pack” mentality when they think about the ones they love — this includes their owner and other family members. Dogs that have newborn puppies also have this natural instinct to protect them at all costs. If they believe their newborn puppies or family members to be in danger, this can result in biting.

Predatory Aggression

Some dogs, even domesticated ones, have strong predatory instincts. These instincts can be more prominent in some breeds than others. If a dog ever comes charging at you, stand still. Let the dog approach you and sniff around as they please. Don’t make eye contact with the dog because this could be seen as a challenge. 

Knowing how a dog thinks can hopefully help you avoid this kind of situation. As a dog owner, you must take active steps to ensure that your dog will not bite anyone or cause anyone harm. If someone is seriously injured from a dog bite, it’s important to seek medical attention. 

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