National Dog Bite Prevention Week

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The good news is that most dog bites are preventable.  It is important to learn to read dogs’ body language and recognize the warning signs of a dog bite.  

Understanding Why Dogs Bite

Dogs can bite for several different reasons:

  • A dog may lack socialization.
  • A dog may bite in reaction to a stimulus.
  • A dog might bite if it is provoked, especially when eating or sleeping.
  • A dog can bite when it feels scared.
  • A dog can bite in reaction to being startled.
  • The dog might be protecting something of value to him, such as food, a toy, or a treat.
  • A dog can bite when it is sick or injured.
  • A dog may be communicating a desire to be left alone.
  • A dog may bite when it feels threatened.
  • A dog may bite when it is protecting its puppies.

Preventing Dog Bites

There are several steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of a dog bite.  Make sure to never:

  • Approach an injured animal.
  • Approach a dog that is eating, sleeping, or nursing puppies.
  • Approach an unknown dog.
  • Approach a dog that is not accompanied by an owner.
  • Poke, pinch, pull, hit, or tease a dog.

It is also crucial to always ask permission before approaching and petting a dog you do not know.

Recognize Signs of Fear and Anxiety in Dogs

Like humans, dogs communicate.  However, we miss what they are trying to tell us. Before rushing up to the next fluffy, adorable dog you see, put yourself in the dog’s position.  Pre-bite warning signs in fearful dogs can include:

  • Yawning.
  • Cowering (as if to make themselves smaller).
  • Licking their lips.
  • Tucking their tails between their legs.
  • Avoiding making direct eye contact.
  • Flattening their ears against their body.
  • Lifting the lip as if to snarl.
  • Maintaining a tense posture.

Be a Responsible Dog Owner

Even the most mild-tempered dogs can bite when they feel threatened or fearful.  You can minimize the chances of your dog biting by being a responsible pet owner and doing the following:

  • Teach your dog basic commands such as “sit,” “stay,” and “no.”
  • Please do not put your dog in a situation where he feels threatened or teased. 
  • Take care when introducing a new dog to children. 
  • Always supervise your child’s actions with all dogs, including your dog. 
  • Carefully manage the introduction of a child with a dog
  • Avoid highly excitable games like wrestling and tug-of-war, which can lead to nipping. 
  • Obey all leash laws. 

Protect your Pets

Coverage in 3 Easy Steps

Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances. 

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.