13 Reasons why dogs bite

By on April 8, 2020

In the U.S. 90 million dogs live in households and this huge number speaks to the popularity of dogs as a pet. Dogs are remarkable companions for senior citizens, adults and children. Many poignant stories are told about the valor and compassion shown by dogs to their owners.

However, the huge population of dogs creates its own problems in the form of dog bites. Over 4.5 million dog bites occur every year in the country, 20% of these turn into infections and three die every month. While most dog bites are treated for rabies and tetanus infections, some of these bites force the victims to seek medical help including hospitalization and reconstructive surgery.

Dog bites are traumatic to victims and owners because both suffer. The victim’s situation is well understood but why should owners suffer? Simply because they have the responsibility to train their dogs and ensure they don’t bite people in social interactions. This responsibility can turn costly if the victim prefers a claim for damages and cost. In fact, claims are so popular that there are personal injury lawyers that specialize in dog bite claims. For the record, victims spent on an average $18,200 for hospitalization and homeowners’ insurers shelled out $675 million in liability claims as a consequence of injuries related to dog bites in the year 2018.

There are specific reasons why dogs bite and recognizing these could help to minimize the incidence of dog bites. Here’s a list of 13 reasons why dogs bite:

⦁ They are defending themselves from a perceived threat to them and their puppies
⦁ They don’t like when someone disturbs their period of rest or their sleep habits
⦁ They don’t like being startled suddenly. This could happen with sudden loud noises or sudden movements or approaching the dogs from behind
⦁ While playing they could misread people running away from them and accidentally bite
⦁ Dogs are like humans and they too can feel fear and they feel that a bite can remove the fear
⦁ Dogs are ratty when they are ill or injured. In such situations they would like to be left alone. Even owners can find it difficult to approach them
⦁ Ill-trained dogs especially on social skills cannot understand why people other than their owners are approaching them. This unusual scenario disturbs their calm and they can become aggressive
⦁ Dogs exhibit dominance characteristics and they don’t like to be challenged even by its owners. This may be due to their aggressive nature
⦁ Like a cornered cat, dogs too cannot take too much of teasing or ragging and they can react with a bite
⦁ Dogs and humans take time to understand each other as their languages are different. During the understanding phase misunderstanding can lead to dog bites
⦁ Dogs age faster than humans which means they both are not on the same page as they age. This can cause differences in energy levels leading to irritation for the dog
⦁ Dogs tend to bite children more because they cannot easily distinguish between children and adults and could take more liberties with children
⦁ Anxiety in dogs (because the owner has gone on a holiday) can cause irrational behaviour leading to bites.

Besides the above you would be able to identify more reasons why dogs bite. It pays to list these reasons and take corrective action on your dog if you are a dog owner and look out for signals that can indicate if a dog is likely to bite or not if you are interacting with dogs that are not your own.

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