Dog bites often lead to serious injuries with long-term complications and extensive medical treatment. Like any animal, dogs are sometimes unpredictable, though some situations create increased risk.
Recognizing common causes for dog bites helps you identify situations with greater risk factors.
Fear, anxiety and stress
Dogs that feel threatened or stressed may lash out in defense. This leads to bites as a result of defensive reactions.
Some dogs get possessive of food, toys and property. Animal behaviorists call this resource guarding and it often triggers aggressive reactions to perceived threats. A dog chewing on a bone, curled up on a favorite bed or resting on the front porch at home could bite if you come too close.
Illness and injury
Dogs suffering from an illness or injury often display altered behavior. In many cases, irritability and aggression result, even toward individuals trying to help or comfort the dog. Physical injuries, neurological conditions and viruses are common ailments that lead to dog bites.
Overstimulated dogs may bite in excitement, nipping and yipping from the overexcitement. Avoid approaching a dog in this state. Removing additional stimuli could help the dog calm down and reduce the risk of bites.
Poor socialization and training
Dogs that lack adequate training and socialization from the puppy stages on may develop anxiety and fear toward people and unfamiliar situations. This often leads to biting and aggression.
Recognizing common situations that increase bite risks may help you avoid injury. When you do suffer a dog bite, protect your rights and seek compensation for your injuries.