It is estimated that every day in the United States, 1,000 people receive dog bites that are severe enough to require emergency medical care, according to Dogsbite.org. A typical stay in the hospital for injuries related to a dog bite may be as much as $18,200. To protect themselves from unnecessary medical costs, as well as the emotional pain and physical suffering that are associated with a bite, people should educate themselves and their families on the signs a dog gives before a bite occurs.
The most obvious sign is the verbal warnings that a dog makes. While most dogs will bark when they are excited, Hartz states that a bark or growl that takes on a menacing or deep tone is a warning that the dog will bite. Another clear sign is the dog’s behavior.Aggressive dogs who try to nip, mouth items, lunge against other people or strike things with their nose are sending a message that a bite is next.
Watching a dog’s posture can also be a good way to spot an impending attack. If the dog is behaving in a submissive manner, tucking its tail between its legs or cowering, it could be sending a message that if it is approached, it will bite. Other dogs may raise the hair on their back or even raise their tail as a way to make themselves look bigger and as a warning. Some dogs will wag their tail in a slow and stiff manner, sending a warning message that can be missed by someone unfamiliar with them.
Facial expressions should also be taken seriously. A dog licking his lip does not necessarily mean he is hungry. It could mean that he is preparing to attack. Likewise, other subtle signs could include looking away from the person, yawning or a slight showing of teeth.