Achieving Balance and Harmony

DOG BEHAVIOR

How to Avoid Dog Bites

Most dog bites occur in the home. More than likely, your four-legged best friend doesn’t mean to hurt you, but might get carried away during playtime and accidentally nip you.

Other dogs, especially small ones, will nip at you for attention, and puppies may use you for teething. Here are some tips for reducing the chances of getting bitten.

  1. Avoid aggressive games.
  2. If you start a wrestling match, a tug-of-war, or even a particularly energetic game of fetch with your dog, you may be accidentally bitten. Remember, your dog uses his mouth to grip things. If you’re wrestling, this could mean your arm or leg. Your dog should also learn a command like “drop it,” which is especially useful when playing fetch so that you don’t have to wrest that slimy tennis ball from his jaws — a good way to injure a finger.

  3. Teach submissive behavior.
  4. Your dog should be trained from an early age to give up food without growling or biting, lie on his back and expose his stomach, and other submissive behaviors. If your dog knows that you’re the Pack Leader, you’ll be able to stop any unwanted or dangerous behaviors in their tracks.

  5. Spay or neuter your dog.
  6. Not only is this a good idea for population control, it also reduces aggression in dogs. Dogs can be excitable enough without extra hormones in the mix.

  7. Vaccinate your dog.
  8. The saddest thing that can happen is if your dog becomes aggressive because it’s contracted rabies. Visit your veterinarian regularly, and make sure your dog’s vaccinations for rabies and other diseases are up to date. As your dog gets older, she can also be prone to dementia or other degenerative conditions that might cause aggressive behavior. Your vet can help you with their diagnosis and treatment.

  9. Do not leave your dog alone with babies or small children.
  10. Leaving dogs and babies alone together can have tragic consequences. There have been many horrible stories in the news of children being harmed or killed by a family pet. Most likely it wasn’t an attack, but the dog trying to play with the baby or imitating something he saw the parent do.

    We’ve seen mother dogs carry their pups by the scruff of their necks. With a baby, that could be fatal. Toddlers are also prone to poke or hit dogs or try to ride them like a horse, which could also provoke a bite. Even if you only leave the room for a minute or two, you’re inviting a dangerous situation.


Minor dog bites may be a frequent occurrence, but we can make them even less frequent with proper knowledge and common sense.

How to Safely Treat a Dog Bite Wound

Cesar always makes sure he has Vetericyn Wound and Skin Spray on hand just in case any of his dogs get hurt. It’s non-toxic, doesn’t sting and is safe even on a puppy’s skin and ears. Learn more on our Vetericyn information page.

Has your dog bitten someone, or were you the victim of a dog bite? What happened? Share your experience with us in the comments.

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