How many times have we all said: "oh my dog is a good dog. I can't believe they snapped like that?"
Any dog can bite.
Let me repeat that.
Any dog can bite.
Any shape, any size, any breed, any age.
People think it's only certain breeds that can snap. But even beagles have sharp teeth in their mouth. Ever tried to take food away from a resource guarding beagle?
Take a look at this infographic from American Veterinary Medicine Association:
Now I know what you're saying -- it's all the pit bulls and the chows and such. The dogs the insurance companies freak out about.
You may even have breed specific legislation in your area that prohibits these dogs in your area.
But any dog can bite. And just because a dog looks like a breed, doesn't mean it is.
A recent study out of Florida found that even people who should know breeds don't know them as well as they should. Especially mixed breed dogs. Check out the study here.
I have personal experience with this. Jasmine's rescuers thought she was beagle. Granted she was a puppy then but...
|Jasmine as a puppy.|
Does she look like a beagle?
|Jasmine as an adult.|
And when the media says a pit bull attacked someone, where do you think they get that from? The police, witnesses and animal shelter workers. They're the ones who say that a dog attacked. It does skew perception against pit bulls. But it starts somewhere. As Jon Stewart said, the bias of the media isn't left, it's lazy. And if the police say the dog is a pit bull, it's a pit bull.
These are the five things you need to share with your friends on Facebook, on Twitter and elsewhere.
1) 77 percent of dog bites come from a family dog or a friend's dog. Not wild packs of sharp-toothed dogs walking down the street. Source: Stop the 77.
2) Any dog can bite. In all of the sites I've been to, I've yet to find a truly comprehensive list of which breeds bite the most. AVMA does have some information, and yes bully breeds are on the list but they aren't alone.
3) Dogs can bite for any reason. From AVMA:
"Dogs bite as a reaction to something. If the dog finds itself in a stressful situation, it may bite to defend itself or its territory.
"Dogs can bite because they are scared or have been startled. They can bite because they feel threatened. They can bite to protect something that is valuable to them, like their puppies, their food or a toy.4) Children are the most common victims of dog bites. More than 800,000 people are bitten by dogs each year and at least half are children. We all have to do a better job of teaching children how to properly handle dogs. AVMA Source: Teaching Children How to Prevent Dog Bites. They also have a bilingual coloring book for kids!
"Dogs might bite because they aren’t feeling well. They could be sick or sore due to injury or illness and might want to be left alone.
"Dogs also might nip and bite during play. Even though nipping during play might be fun for the dog, it can be dangerous for people. It’s a good idea to avoid wrestling or playing tug-of-war with your dog. These types of activities can make your dog overly excited, which may lead to a nip or a bite."
5) Training, activity and socialization is helpful in preventing bites. A tired dog is a happy dog. Keep them busy. Try not to keep them chained up or caged, and if you do don't let children near them. Let them meet other dogs and children in controlled settings from an early age.
You can find more amazing resources on Dog Bite Prevention Week at the AVMA website and at Stop the 77.