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Know the warning signs that a dog might bite

Warm weather sends many Allentown residents into the outdoors to enjoy recreational activities, such as running or biking. In this weather, many pet owners let their dogs out in the yard to roam and enjoy the outdoors as well. 

Usually, people and dogs can coexist in the outdoors, especially when dog owners have the proper fencing or leashes for their dogs. However, the risk of dog bites increases in the summertime. So, it is critical for individuals to be aware of the warning signs that a dog could bite to avoid the risk of an injury.

1. Growling or barking

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) describes various signs that a dog could act aggressively, but growling is undoubtedly the most common warning that dogs give. If a dog barks, growls or snarls to show their teeth, they most likely feel unsafe or intimidated. And it is highly likely that they could bite someone if they feel like this. 

2. Maintaining direct eye contact

When a dog maintains direct eye contact with someone, individuals should immediately:

  • Keep an eye on the dog, but do not make eye contact
  • Back away slowly and avoid further contact

Direct eye contact is a threat in a dog’s language, so to speak. If they keep direct eye contact, they are threatening others. And if people keep direct eye contact with them, dogs could perceive it as a threat as well. They will try to assert dominance and perhaps attack.

3. Changing their posture

A dog will often become tense before they bite. If dogs feel threatened and attempt to bite, they might:

  • Freeze and become rigid
  • Puff out their chest
  • Poise their legs to lunge

If a dog looks like it might lunge and bite, then it is safest to assume that approaching the dog is a risk. It is best to avoid eye contact with the dog and leave the area as quickly as possible. 

Remember: Children are the most vulnerable to dog bites

Most adults will recognize these warning signs that a dog could bite. However, young children might not. They are still learning how to interact with animals, after all. 

Since they might not understand these warning signs, children are at the most risk for suffering an injury from a dog bite. That is why it is important for parents to be aware of these signs to protect their children and themselves from suffering a severe injury.