For some of us dog owners walking your dog can become a stressful event. As vets we often see dog bites on our canine patients from other dogs whether that has occurred whilst walking in the park, during play time and an innocent nip to the side or even within their own homes between dogs in the same household.
Some wounds have definitely been worse than others. Wounds caused by dog bites can be unpredictable, firstly there is the depth of penetration of the canine tooth which can pass through quite a few layers of soft tissue, combined with the bacteria that gets left behind from the dogs mouth and often we have to deal with crushing injuries where the power of the jaw has crushed the soft tissue. Often the true damage and bruising is not seen until a few days after the dog bite.
With any dog bite on your pup please contact your nearest branch of Swayne & partners as we may need to clean the wound and it may require assessment for antibiotics.
So amongst all the craziness in the world at the moment how do we try to reduce the risk of our dog getting bitten by another dog? Firstly being a responsible dog owner and following the country side code – which often advises to keep dogs on leads. We are very lucky in Suffolk there are many public footpaths. However we should remember to be respectful of these paths as they often go through farmers fields and may even have livestock very close. By keeping your dog on a lead it ensures they are under your control. This means that if another dog walker suddenly appears you at least can control the interaction to some extent.
“Oh don’t worry he’s friendly he won’t harm your dog he just wants to play” This is the phrase that dog owners often get very frustrated about. If you are being a responsible dog owner and have your dog on a lead the next thing you know a very bouncy 18 month old golden retriever pup (a breed re known for being very friendly to both human and dogs) comes bouncing up in your dogs face your dog could often find this interaction uncomfortable. Just like humans certain dogs need their own space and time to have interactions with other canines.
Unfortunately when on a lead and faced with another bouncy, energetic dog, often the reaction is aggression either out of dominance, fear or the inability to get away. We try to encourage owners whose pups are either nervous or need time to interact in certain ways with other dogs to use coloured leads. This can help to act as a warning to other dog walkers how their dog can be i.e. reactive/ nervous.
We always hope that interactions don’t end up with a dog being bitten by another dog but if this does happen always remain calm, try to separate the dogs as safely as possible without getting bitten yourself, contact your nearest Swaynes’ branch to discuss any concerns regarding injuries.
This article tries to highlight the importance of being in control of your dog when out in public, being aware of how your dog acts around other dogs and the importance of socialising puppies early on with lots of different dogs. This is more difficult during the COVID-19 lockdown period but it must not be forgotten socialisation is an important part of your pups upbringing. If you feel you can’t provide sufficient socialisation during the lockdown period perhaps consider delaying rehoming a pup until more “normal” times return.
We have contact with many different dog behaviourists in Suffolk so please call your local branch to discuss. It is important to find a dog behaviourist who suits both the owner and the dog, so you can both get as much out of any lessons or classes.