Dogs are amazing companions that bring joy to our lives. We like to think of our furry friends as friendly and playful pups, but sometimes that is not always the case. Like any animal, a dog can bite and their bites can be extremely harmful. Below we list five reasons why a dog may bite you and what to do if you have been bit.

1. Guarding

Dogs often become territorial over their food and toys. They may bite in response to fear that their food or belongings will be taken away. Dogs not only guard their toys and food, but they can guard their owner. Some dog breeds are even specially bred to be guard dogs. If a dog senses a threat to their family or home, they can bite out of a tendency to guard and protect.

2. Fear

One of the most common reasons why a dog may bite is out of fear. A dog’s bite is the best defense mechanism they possess. More times than not, aggression in dogs is rooted in some sense of fear. If their boundaries are pushed and someone enters their space, fear kicks in and a dog may bite in order to create a distance between them and the object or person they fear. A dog will often give warning signs in this situation, so you should pay attention to their body language to avoid being bit.

3. Caught Off Guard

If a dog is startled, maybe they were awoken or approached from behind, they can bite out of disorientation. This is especially common in dogs who have vision or hearing loss, or among older dogs. It’s always best to avoid startling a dog if they are asleep.

4. Sick or Injured

A dog who is in pain, either sick or injured, can be overwhelmed and stressed. When handled, an injured dog can bite because they are in pain. If you need to lift a sick or injured dog, be extra cautious.

5. Frustration

Dogs can also bite out of frustration. An example of this is if they are unable to get out of an unpleasant situation or can’t get to something that they want. If a dog sees something it wants or wants to approach and is being held back by a leash or handler, the dog may turn and bite at what is holding them back. This is an instance when an owner or handler can be bit by a dog on a leash. Good training and leash techniques can help to avoid this frustration in dogs.

What To Do If You’ve Been Bit By A Dog

According to the Gulfport, MS dog bite attorneys at Haug, Farrar & Franco, PLLC, you should seek medical attention after any type of dog bite or attack. In some instances, you may be able to wash and care for the wound yourself, but it is always best to seek professional medical attention after any animal bite due to the bacterial infections that can occur. 

If you’ve been bit by a dog that isn’t yours, you may want to pursue a personal injury lawsuit. In this case, you should document your injuries, scene of the attack, medical attention you received, and any eye witness statements. 

Unfortunately, dogs can and do bite. Understanding why dogs bite can help avoid getting bit, and if you have been bit, it’s important to seek medical attention.