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On a fairly regular basis animals are impounded at the shelter because they have been involved in biting a human or another animal.

There are many circumstances that might cause a dog or a cat to bite someone: fear, injury, stranger danger, and guarding of food or toys being the most common reasons. Often those bites don’t involve the owners of the pet, but are more likely directed towards people that don’t live in their home. Visiting children, delivery persons, yard maintenance workers, etc., can send a dog into a heightened state of anxiety that can result in what would appear to us to be unprovoked attacks.

But if you consider the nature of dogs and their instinctive drive to protect their “pack,” it makes sense.

For example, if they see a visiting child rough housing with a child from their own family, they may interpret that as their pack member being in danger. Sometimes dogs become very protective of a particular person in the home and may react badly when someone else, even another household member, comes near their chosen human companion. An animal in pain might snap when touched. A sleeping animal might snap if startled awake.

The list of precursors goes on and on and it’s important to take preventative measures and to know what to do if a bite does occur.

Let’s start with knowing the nature of your pet. Are they high strung and suffer from anxiety in general? Do they have “stranger danger” anxiety? Are they prone to aggression over food, chews, toys or their bedding?

Being aware of these things can help you prevent bites by controlling situations that might end badly. In most of those scenarios, there are training methods and/or other therapies that can help overcome or at least keep those behaviors and reactions to a manageable level. Speak to your veterinarian and a reputable trainer for guidance on those behaviors.

Unfortunately, things happen and if a dog or cat bite results in actual puncture wounds, whether to a human or another animal, it’s essential that the victim get medical care. Those type of wounds are prone to infection and should be addressed by doctor or veterinarian to determine a course of treatment.

When a bite of this degree occurs, the animal is required to be confined for 10 days either in your home or in a facility such as the shelter, which would be determined by your local health department.

Any time an animal breaks skin you should wash it thoroughly and disinfect it immediately. As all pet owners know, even playing with cats and dogs can result in scratches and nips. Know your pet and what might set them off. Keep your dog securely leashed or confined when he or she is out. Carry some sort of deterrent, such as pepper spray, if you walk your dog where other animals may pose a danger. Be aware of other people’s pets when you’re in their space.

Finally, stay safe!

Shelter needs: The shelter has a desperate need for dry kitten and cat food without dyes.

The shelter also needs canned dog food, hot dogs, canned chicken and tuna, cat litter, hand sanitizer, and gift cards for grocery and pet supply outlets.

Source: What can you do to help prevent dog and cat bites?

Posted in 2021, SJRAS Articles