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Better Safe Than Sorry

Over the weekend, professional snowboarder Lindsey Vonn tweeted a picture from the hospital - but not with a snowboard-related injury! She posted a picture of her mauled hand (don't worry, she's still got all the fingers) captioned "So the story is that my dogs got rowdy fighting over a dang Frisbee and I tried to break it up but got bit instead. Fun weekend."

We all love our dogs, and I'm sure most of us would eagerly say that our dogs have a sweet disposition and wouldn't hurt a fly.  But even the gentlest dogs can bite sometimes.  Just like you can snap at a loved one after a long day at work, dogs can snap with their teeth after a long day of being a dog.  Here are a few important tips to stop an unexpected bite before it happens. 

  • Always respect a dog's space - I know cuddling dogs, your own or other people's, is hard to resist, but you have to be cautious when showing a dog affection.  If you're approaching a dog you don't know, make sure you first ask the owner if it's alright, then let the dog come to you.  Never approach a dog when it's on its own, and even if it comes to you first, be careful.  Don't put your hands on a dog's fence or through the gate.
  • Be careful of dog moms - Just like human moms, dog moms are very protective of their children.  Puppies are adorable, we know!  But just going in to cuddle with a puppy or pick it up isn't a good idea when the mom is around, as she might see you as a threat to her child and snap at you out of protection.  
  • Be cautious of old and sick dogs - Old dogs and sick dogs are not their usual selves.  They may be more sensitive to pain than other dogs, therefore a simple touch might be painful to them and cause them to lash out.  Not only this, but many dogs, as they grow older, begin to lose some of their sight and hearing.  This means they are more easily startled if you approach them suddenly.
  • Always read a dog's body language - We are pretty good, as dog owners, at telling when our dog is agitated or on edge.  Watch for this both in your dog and other dogs.  Avoiding touch or sudden movements when you see a dog's hair on edge or ears rigid will help save you from a possible nip.
  • Never break up a dog fight - This one Lindsey Vonn learned the hard way this weekend.  It's hard to see your dogs fight, with each other or with other dogs or animals, but it's simply unsafe to try to break them up, especially with your bare hands.  Throwing something light at them or making a loud noise might be able to distract them long enough to get out of the fight.
As we know, most dogs are not aggressive by nature!  But all dogs have a bad day, so remain cautious always to save you and your dog stress.  That way we don't see you tweeting from the hospital! 
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Jenna Gomes

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Jenna Gomes