We don’t talk about dog attacks very often. At least, not when the dog isn’t a pit bull or german shepherd. Every OTHER dog breed is man’s best friend, right?
Disturbingly, about four and a half million dog bites occur annually in the United States alone. It gets worse – about one in every five of these bites end up being infected. When left untreated (or improperly treated), this leads to utter disaster in an SHTF situation.
The fact is every dog – whether domesticated or not – is an ANIMAL, and will therefore rely on and use its instincts to survive. No amount of attempts at domestication will stop these dogs from reacting to a situation. And, although most dogs appear docile and gentle, they are STILL ANIMALS. Which means they still have the capacity to bite or attack if provoked.
Keep in mind most of the 4.5 million attacks per year are caused by people’s PETS. These occur when they have either gotten out of their leash or were never on a leash to begin with. The other, smaller portion of this group are victims of feral dogs.
Feral dogs are ones who are truly wild. They have never been anyone’s pet, and they are nobody’s pet now. These dogs are strays, and are often afraid of people. Many of these are also often infected with rabies. These dogs tend to form packs, and attack either alone or in the pack. They are found all over the U.S., in rural areas as well as in urban cities.
It may feel disturbing to talk about man’s best friend turning on us. However, I feel we have to fact the facts. That’s why I have to share with you these tips on…
How To Protect Yourself When A Dog Attacks
1 – Avoidance Is Key
If you encounter a stray dog that is by itself, it is the best move to avoid it. This is true even if it looks scared. However, it’s important to never come up to a dog when it is sleeping, eating, or taking care of its puppies. Many dogs are food-aggressive, or are angry and aggressive when woken up. Therefore, it’s best to leave them alone whenever possible.
2 – What To Do When One Dog Attacks
If a single dog approaches you, it’s best to stand still and not make eye contact. Keep the side of your body facing the animal, so that you’re not portraying a threatening posture. Without looking at the dog in the eyes, speak in a low, firm voice and say things like “NO” and “GO HOME.” Meanwhile, cover your neck, keeping your elbows in, in case the dog attacks. Typically this will cause the dog to retreat.
If the dog doesn’t leave and charges you, it’s important to know how to react. According to Lifehacker:
If the dog charges you, it’s still important to stand as still as possible. As Dr. Sofia Yin, DVM, MS, explains, dogs charge for one of two reasons: either because they are scared and know offense is their best defense, or because something you or another person in the vicinity did something that excited them and made them think they’re being rewarded.
People’s pets can get caught in a self-reinforced feedback loop where they “play” a little too hard and don’t know any better. If you yell and move around frantically, the dog will think you’re playing along and won’t stop.
If the dog is clearly being aggressive, not playing (growling, snarling, barking), or obviously feral (dirty, no collar, not reacting to commands), Yin recommends you try and put something between you and the animal.
A backpack, purse, jacket, or even a shoe can make for a great shield. Look at the dogs’ body language so you can prepare to block attacks. Tension in the body, raised hackles (the hair along the dog’s back), and ears that are flat against their head are things to watch for. Don’t try to hit the dog with the item, though, as this can make the dog even more aggressive. Just try to back away slowly.
If the dog knocks you down, curl into a ball with your head tucked, make fists with your hands to protect your fingers, and use your hands and arms to cover your ears and neck.
3 – What To Do When A Pack Of Dogs Attack
As you read before, dogs don’t always travel alone. In fact, feral dogs tend to hunt and attack together. Thus, your reaction will need to be different for fighting off multiple dogs. According to Lifehacker:
If you encounter a pack of feral dogs, you’ll use most of the same tactics, but there are a few more things you need to consider. As Cesar Millan (the “Dog Whisperer”) explains, the pack will split up and try to come at you from multiple angles.
The more submissive dogs of the pack will try to circle around behind you while the dominant dogs of the pack will approach you head on. Don’t let any dogs get behind you if you can help it. If you can find any sticks or stones to throw at the dogs, grab them and focus on the alpha or one of the more dominant dogs of the pack.
If you can scare the leaders off, the rest will follow. Also, if you have any weapons on you, like pepper spray, a baton, a knife, or a gun, keep them handy. Lastly, if you can spot any high ground, like the top of a car, the back of a pickup, or an electrical box, slowly back your way toward it so you can climb up if you need to.
4 – How To Treat A Bite
If a dog attacks and you end up getting bitten, you must treat it IMMEDIATELY to help prevent infection. According to Lifehacker:
If you get bitten, the CDC recommends you wash your wounds with soap and water as soon as possible. After you’ve cleaned your wounds, seek immediate medical attention to prevent infection, especially if the wound won’t stop bleeding, you’ve lost function in the bite area, you can see muscle or bone tissue, or you’re experiencing extreme pain. The same goes if you develop a fever after receiving the wound, or it becomes red, painful, warm to the touch, or swollen.
Dog bites—even ones from somebody’s pet—may pass on Rabies, Capnocytophaga spp., Pasteurella, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and Tetanus, so it’s imperative you get checked out. It’s also a good idea to contact your local animal control agency or police department to report the incident. If you know the dog that bit you is somebody’s pet, contact the owner and make sure the animal has a current rabies vaccination. Get their rabies vaccine license number, the name of their veterinarian, and the owner’s name, address, and phone number.
Like I said, the idea of a familiar (or even unfamiliar) dog turning on you can be a frightening thing. However, by taking the proper precautions now, you can educate yourself and help prevent future dog attacks. When utilized, these tips can even help save your life.
Remember, when you Prepare Now, you’re more likely to Survive Later!