How to Survive a Dog Attack

There are about 4.5 million dog bites in the United States every year , according to the CDC . Almost one in five of these bites become infected (about 900,000), andbetween 1999 and 2007, dogs were responsible for 250 deaths. Poisonous insects aside, man’s best friend is one of the deadliest animals in the United States.

Most dog attacks are caused by human pets that were either released or were not properly tied up initially, but some attacks are carried out by stray or feral dogs.

Feral dogs, sometimes referred to as wild dogs or street dogs, are animals that live in freedom, not domesticated , that are not, and have never been, someone’s pets. Usually they are afraid of people, but they can be much more dangerous than a lost or abandoned pet (homeless) if cornered, starving or infected with rabies. Wild dogs tend to form communities that travel together, and they often have dating places like wolves, according to the Internet Center for Wildlife Damage . They tend to collect food such as trash and road killings around human populations, but they have also been known to hunt in packs. When wild dogs go hunting, it is common for livestock, pets and sometimes people who are in the wrong place at the wrong time. And don’t think that feral dogs can only be found in the countryside. Packs of feral dogs can be found in almost every city, from Detroit to Dallas, where a woman was recently mauled and bitten over 100 times right in the middle of the street.

If you come across one unfamiliar dog , whether it is a stray, feral, or a dog that you believe is someone’s pet, the CDC recommends avoiding it, even if it seems like it is lost or needs help. This is doubly true for dogs sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies. Even if it is obvious that the dog is someone’s pet, an off-leash dog can be dangerous, especially for children. If an unfamiliar dog is approaching you, do not run, panic or make noise. Remain still with the side of your body facing the dog, avoiding direct eye contact. Say things like “No” or “Go home” in a deep, firm voice and slowly raise your arms to cover your neck while holding your elbows. Now wait for the dog to leave, or start slowly backing away.

If the dog attacks you, it is still important to remain as quiet as possible. As Dr. Sophia Yin, DVM, MS explains, dogs are indicted for one of two reasons: either because they are scared and know an attack is their best defense, or because something that you or another person nearby has done something that excited them and made them think they were being rewarded. Pets can get caught in a self-reinforcing feedback loop when they play too hard and don’t know any better. If you scream and move frantically, the dog will think you are playing along and will not stop.

If the dog is clearly aggressive, not playing (growls, growls, barks) or clearly wild (dirty, collarless, does not respond to commands), Yin recommends that you try to put something between you and the animal. A backpack, purse, jacket, or even shoes can be a great shield. Look at your dog’s body language to prepare to fend off an attack. Tension in the body, upturned strands (hair along the dog’s back) and ears pressed to the head are what you should look out for. However, do not try to hit the dog with this object, as this can make the dog even more aggressive. Just try to back away slowly. If your dog knocks you down, curl up into a ball with your head tilted, clench your hands into fists to protect your fingers, and cover your ears and neck with your hands and arms.

If you come across a pack of wild dogs , you will use almost the same tactics, but there are a few more things you need to consider. As Cesar Millan (Dog Whisperer) explains, the pack will split up and try to attack you from different directions . The more submissive dogs of the pack will try to circle after you, while the dominant dogs of the pack will approach you. Don’t let the dogs get behind you if you can. If you can find sticks or rocks to throw at the dogs, grab them and focus on the alpha or one of the more dominant dogs in the pack. If you can scare the leaders away, the rest will follow. Also, if you have any weapons, such as pepper spray, baton, knife, or pistol, keep them close at hand. Finally, if you notice any bump like the roof of a car, the back of a pickup truck, or an electric box, slowly return to it so you can head upstairs if you need to.

In the event of a bite, the CDC recommends washing the wounds with soap and water as soon as possible. After you have washed your wounds, seek immediate medical attention to prevent infection, especially if the wound continues to bleed, you have lost function at the bite, you may see muscle or bone tissue, or you are severely irritated. pain. The same thing happens if you have a fever after getting a wound, or if it becomes red, painful, warm to the touch, or swollen.

Dog bites – even from the bites of someone’s pet – can be transmitted by rabies , Capnocytophaga spp. , Pasteurella , methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and tetanus , so you should definitely get tested. It’s also a good idea to contact your local animal control agency or police department to report the incident. If you know that the dog that bit you is someone’s pet, contact the owner to make sure the animal is vaccinated against rabies. Obtain your rabies vaccine license number, veterinarian’s name, and owner’s name, address, and telephone number.

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