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12 Dog Attack Safety Tips You MUST Know According to Experts

These dog attack safety tips might come in handy one day!

Dogs make the best companions, don’t they? Though it’s also true that some will attack if they feel threatened or scared, especially street dogs.

And even though these attacks are relatively rare, and most that do occur only involve minor injuries, it still helps knowing what to do in case you ever find yourself in a tricky situation like this. It can be scary, especially if you already have a fear of dogs.

Fortunately, canines typically give off a lot of warning signs before they lunge. So we went to the experts.  Keep reading for expert advice on dog attack safety tips, what to do after an attack, and how to prevent them from happening in the first place.

Dog Attack Safety Tip
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Early warning signs of a dog attack

Dog attack safety tip: Observe when a dog’s tail is stiff and take note of posture

Watch for when a dog’s tail is up and stiff. Tail wagging can communicate lots of emotions besides happiness, like anger or fear.

When a dog’s tail is wagging stiffly or standing up straight, this can be an early warning sign that it’s feeling threatened and showing signs of aggression.

When a dog tenses up and flexes its muscles, this can signify aggression or fear. Watch out for stiff muscles and rigid postures, especially in the back and neck. This can be an early sign that a dog wants to lunge.

Dog attack safety tip: Watch out for a dog’s wide stance

When you see a dog standing with its legs apart and its chest thrown out, it might be trying to look bigger by asserting dominance. This can be another early tell-tale sign that a dog may be getting ready to attack.

Dog attack safety tip: Listen for a low growl

A deep expression of aggressive behavior in dogs is a low, rumbling growl. Consider the dog dangerous if it’s growling, mainly if this growl is sustained for more than a couple of seconds.

Even though growling is often a warning sign from dogs, low-rumbling growls should always be taken very seriously. If the dog happens to be growling at another dog, try removing the non-aggressive dog.

Dog attack safety tip: Look for perked-up ears

When dogs’ ears stand up, they carefully observe a situation and pay attention to what’s happening around them. This implies that a dog is on edge and could potentially want to bite.

There are other reasons a dog might perk its ears up, too though. So look for this cue in conjunction with different alerts.

Dog attack safety tip: Notice when a dog’s ears are held back

As with the perked up ears, a do with ears held back can also tell us something is off. This is usually a symbol of fear. When you notice this behavior in a dog, especially in conjunction with other warning signs, it can suggest defensive-aggressive behavior.

Dog attack safety tip: Beware of direct eye contact

Most of the time, dogs only make indirect eye contact with people or other canines. Direct, sustained eye contact can be viewed as a threat in dog language.

So if a dog is looking at you, or another pup, squarely in the eye, this is a more serious warning sign that it may be getting ready to attack. If you notice that the dog makes direct eye contact with you, you should look away slowly.

On the other hand, if a pooch avoids eye contact entirely, this can signify defensive aggression. Watch out for this, as well.

Dog Attack Safety Tip
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Protecting yourself against a dog attack

Dog attack safety tip: Don’t run away unless you’re sure you can get away

Running away can arouse the dog’s prey instinct to chase and catch other animals. They might chase you energetically, even if their initial intent was just playful. Also, you won’t be able to outrun most dogs if you’re on foot. Many can catch up to you even if you’re on a bike.

Dog attack safety tip: Look away, be motionless, and make yourself rigid

When a canine approaches you, stand still with your hands at your sides and look away. The dog will usually lose interest and walk away if you ignore it. Locking your eyes with them or making a lot of movement can signal you’re combative.

As we mentioned, eye contact especially, can send the message to an aggressive or scared dog that you’re challenging them. You can also stand sideways and keep them in your peripheral vision rather than facing them. This will signal that you’re not a threat.

You should never open your hands and arms up towards them. It leaves you in a vulnerable position to get bitten. Keep your fingers curled up into fists to avoid losing a finger, as well. The dog may come quite close. They might even sniff you without biting.

Dog attack safety tip: Remain calm

There’s some truth to the saying that dogs and other animals can smell fear. And the reality is that dogs are less likely to attack if you have low energy and are laid back. A canine is more likely to attack if you become agitated and scream and run.

Don’t wave your arms around or kick with your legs. The pup might perceive these actions as menacing. Remember that an attacking dog isn’t always behaving aggressively.

A lot of the time, they’re attacking because they’re confused or scared. So, the less you do to spook or confuse them, the less likely they’ll be to lunge towards you.

Dog attack safety tip: Try to fight back if the dog jumps at you and won’t stop

If a canine starts biting you, you’ve got to defend yourself. Kick or hit the dog in the nose, throat, or the back of the head. This will stun the dog and give you time to get away.

At this point, remember to shout for help as you’re fighting back. Hopefully, someone will hear and come to your aid. If available, pepper spray or mace is also a good defense.

Dog attack safety tip: If it’s a larger or stronger dog, get on the ground and protect yourself

If you can’t realistically hurt the dog, defend yourself. Try to cover your face, chest, and throat. Lie down in a fetal position with your vital areas protected.

The canine will be more likely to stop attacking if they think you’re no longer a threat. Resist the urge to roll away or scream, which will encourage the dog to keep attacking.

Dog attack safety tip: Use your weight to your advantage

If the dog is medium-sized, bear your entire body weight on the dog, pushing down with the hard points of your elbows or knees. Canines can be vicious biters, but they’re not that great at wrestling.

So wrap them up and hold on. Concentrate your force on their throat or ribs. If it’s a smaller breed, you can shove it a bit. Straddle the dog’s back with your body weight and apply forward pressure to the back of their neck.

The dog will be forced to let go to breathe. Important dog attack safety tip: Keep your weight off the dog if they’re enormous or a breed known for their jaw strength, like pit bulls, rottweilers, or German shepherds.

Dog Attack Safety Tip
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The aftermath

Seek medical help to get dressings and vaccinations. A medical professional should generally examine any significant wounds from an attack.

If an unknown dog bit you, and it might have rabies or appears to be foaming at the mouth, you must see a doctor immediately to get preventative treatment for the fatal disease rabies.

You should also call the authorities immediately after a dog attack to prevent the dog from hurting anyone else and to be tested for diseases. If the dog in question is a stray, they may attack others, as well.

Removing them from the area is the best way to ensure your safety and that of all others. If a dog with an owner has hurt you, you might wish to take legal action. Many states have specific laws in place holding owners responsible for the actions of their canines.

Please feel free to leave a comment and let us know if you think we missed any dog attack safety tips. And if you found this post helpful, we highly recommend you also read: Warning: If You See a Red-Collared Dog… You Might Want to Stay Away!

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