There are an estimated 500,000 dog bites per year in Canada with three-quarters of the victims under the age of 10. Most of these are not serious and are only warning nips but the question remains: what makes a dog dangerous and what causes them to bite?

Dogs have many different reasons why they bite and it’s important to understand the reason behind their aggressive behaviour. Some of the main reasons they bite is because they’re scared or feel threatened. They can also bite to protect something that is valuable to them, like their puppies or their food.
Another dog might bite because they are sick or aren’t feeling well. If you feel this is the case, it’s best to take the dog to a vet to get checked out and find out what’s wrong. Make sure you’re careful not to make any sudden movements and to handle the dog gently with care.

Dogs also might get overly excited and nip during play. Even though nipping during play might be fun for the dog, it can be dangerous for people, especially younger kids. It’s a good idea to avoid wrestling or playing tug-of-war with your dog. These types of activities can make your dog overly excited, which may lead to a small bite.

Socialization is a good way to help prevent your dog from biting and getting used to other people and dogs. By introducing your dog to people and other animals while it’s a puppy, it feels more comfortable in different situations as it gets older. It’s also important to use a leash in public to make sure that you are able to control your dog.

Educating yourself and the children you know on how, or if, they should approach a dog is also very important when it comes to preventing dog bites. Information is one of the best ways to prevent dog bites.

How to Stop Dog Bites from Happening
Dog bite prevention begins at home with your own dog by being a good dog owner. If you do not intend to breed your dog then having them spayed or neutered will help decrease the risk of aggressive behaviour. You should also exercise and play with your dog on a regular basis to reinforce the bond between you and your dog. With some dogs, it also expends excess energy that might otherwise be directed towards aggressive play or behaviour.

You should avoid aggressive games such as wrestling and tug of war which can lead to dominance issues. Train your dog well, they should know the basic commands such as sit, stay, come and leave it. Don’t allow your dog to roam free where they can be a danger to other people. Do try to socialize your dog and expose them to many different people and situations, but take care not to overwhelm him. Keep your vaccinations up to date for a worst-case scenario.

In Vancouver, a dog can be put down if they bite someone if they are not up to date on vaccines. Seek professional help from your veterinarian if your dog shows any signs of aggression. If you have children take the time to educate them on how to act around dogs, what to watch for and what to do if a dog attacks. If you have any questions about an aggressive dog please give us a call.