What to do if You Come Into Contact With an Aggressive Dog

If it seems like wherever you go, there are dogs around, you’re right. Dog ownership in the United States is at its highest point since they’ve been keeping records. Whether you’re an animal lover or not, at some point you may come into contact with an aggressive dog. Would you know what to do?

In most cases, a dog who is acting aggressively does so when they’re feeling afraid, though some are protecting their owners, their territory, or their food. If you’ve never met a dog and you’d like to pet it, you need to approach the dog and its owner in a non-threatening way. Your first step is to ask the owner if it’s alright to greet the dog, and if you get the okay then hold out your hand in a fist, offering the dog your knuckles to smell, palm down. By doing this you allow the dog to sniff your hand but protect your fingers in case the dog bites. If the dog acts friendly you can pat him on the head or back. If the dog pulls his ears back, growls or shows his teeth or cowers, don’t pet him. Don’t ever run towards a dog you don’t know and don’t put your face near a dog you don’t know, especially not while smiling. Dogs can see your teeth and believe that you are threatening them.

If a dog acts aggressively, don’t run away and don’t turn your back on the dog, but don’t make eye contact or show your teeth. Stay calm, speak softly rather than yelling, and back away slowly. If the dog bites you try to put something between you and the animal, but don’t hit the dog. If you’re on the ground, curl up into a ball, cover your head and face with your arms and keep your hands in a fist.

If you are bitten by a dog and the bite is serious, seek emergency help immediately. Make sure you get the owner’s name if possible so that you can get the dog’s vaccination status. If you don’t think the bite is serious, wash it thoroughly with soap and water. It’s a good idea to contact your doctor and get checked.

If a dog bite is serious you may need to take legal action. For assistance, call our office today to discuss your situation.