Dog bite dangers: What you need to know - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Dog bite dangers: What you need to know

Posted: Updated:
ATLANTA -

You might think dogs that are strangers are the dogs pose the most danger to you and your family.  But the reality is that more people are bitten by dogs they know, and that makes it important to know how to protect yourself.

At the Village Vets in Decatur, Dr. Ashley Alford has learned to read dogs.  She says they give off clues we humans sometimes miss.
      
"One of the biggest signs we misread is the wagging of the tail," said Alford.  "That does not always mean that a dog is friendly.  That just means that a dog wants to be engaged."

Alford says when most people see a dog, they automatically reach out to pet it-- not picking up on clues that they need to back off.  Growling, lowering or turning of the dog's head, and breaking eye contact are signs, she says, that it's time to step back.  

In fact, dogs communicate much of how they're feeling with their eyes. So, if they're anxious or uncomfortable, they may turn or break eye contact.

"And especially if they're giving you that side eye, where you can see the whites of the eyes, the eyes are very big-- that means that a dog is scared," said Alford.  "So you don't keep going in to pet that dog. You want to kind of back away and give that dog its space."

Every year, about 4.7 million Americans are bitten by a dog. When it happens, the dog that's doing the biting isn't a dog we don't know.  It's the one we do.  That makes it critical for children to learn the warning signs to leave a dog alone.  

Alford says if a dog becomes withdrawn, runs from the kids who are around him, or starts to growl, it's best to separate them from the children.  She also stresses the importance of watching the dogs at all times, and if you notice something that the child is doing or that the dog is doing, you should correct that behavior.

  • Good Day ArchiveMore>>

  • Improve your commute with the "One Bus Away" app

    Improve your commute with the "One Bus Away" app

    Thursday, April 17 2014 9:03 AM EDT2014-04-17 13:03:23 GMT
    Don't you hate when you're waiting for mass transit and have no idea when that train or bus will show up? Now, there's an app for that and it's saving people time and money.
    Don't you hate when you're waiting for mass transit and have no idea when that train or bus will show up? Now, there's an app for that and it's saving people time and money.
  • Brewery Celebrates The "Sweet" Life At 420 Fest

    Brewery Celebrates The "Sweet" Life At 420 Fest

    Thursday, April 17 2014 8:45 AM EDT2014-04-17 12:45:46 GMT
    A new venue and a major headlining band are set to make this year's 10th Annual SweetWater 420 Fest the biggest yet.
    A new venue and a major headlining band are set to make this year's 10th Annual SweetWater 420 Fest the biggest yet.
  • FOX Medical Team

    Eat for the Test!

    Eat for the Test!

    Thursday, April 17 2014 7:48 AM EDT2014-04-17 11:48:58 GMT
    If you want your student to test well, Cheryl Williams, a registered dietitian with Children's Healthcare of Atlanta says breakfast is the most important meal.
    If you want your student to test well, Cheryl Williams, a registered dietitian with Children's Healthcare of Atlanta says breakfast is the most important meal.
Powered by WorldNow

WTTG FOX 5 & myfoxdc
5151 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20016
Main Number: (202) 244-5151
Newsroom: (202) 895-3000
fox5tips@wttg.com

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices