How to Avoid Being Bitten by a Dog

How to Avoid Being Bitten by a Dog

Last update: 21 June, 2018

The injuries that a dog can do with its teeth can sometimes be very serious and require surgery. This is why it’s good to know how avoid being bitten , whether by your dog or someone else’s. Find out more in this article.

Advice to avoid being bitten

It doesn’t matter how old you are, if you have a very calm pet, or if you don’t have dogs at home. Pay attention to these tips to avoid being bitten. They can work in any situation:

1. Interacting with the animal

Although it might sound odd, the truth is that dogs (as well as other animals) tend not to trust people they don’t know. This is why they’re more likely to bite a stranger than a member of the family. If you introduce yourself to them properly, you can avoid problems. Keep your hands relaxed and away from the dog and let them see you clearly the whole time. Before touching them, offer the back of your hand for them to smell, as long as they don’t growl or bark.

A woman stroking a dog to avoid being bitten

2. Learn the warning signs

To avoid being bitten it’s really important to know what the animal’s behaviour is like. This means that you need to learn their body language. Before attacking, a dog’s tail will go rigid or wag very slowly from side to side. They’ll point their ears backwards, stick their tongue out, and lick their lips. They’ll watch you very closely, growl, and bare their teeth.

3. Move away slowly

If you detect that the dog intends to attack, the best thing you can do to avoid being bitten is to move away from them to a safe place (maybe somewhere where there’s a barrier between the two of you). But under no circumstances should you run. This will only make things worse. Sometimes it may be more sensible to stay still in the same place and tell them firmly (without shouting) to leave you alone.

4. Protect yourself with an object

If the dog looks as if it’s about to attack you, you could hold a bag, jacket, or anything else that you have to hand in front of you for the dog to bite first. If their momentum knocks you over, curl into a ball and protect your head with your arms. This way they will not be able to bite you in any serious areas, like your neck or face.

5. Ask the owner about the dog’s behaviour

Another piece of advice to avoid being bitten is to know the animal in front of you. If it’s not your animal, ask the owner about its behaviour with strangers. If they tell you they don’t like certain movements or behaviour, then pay close attention. No one will know them better.

6. Don’t approach them when they’re eating

If there’s one thing dogs hate, it’s being bothered when they’re eating. This is a purely instinctive reaction that they’ve inherited from wolves. If they feel you’re a threat or that you’re going to steal their food, they’ll probably try to bite you. Even if they’ve been your pet their entire life, in this moment you might awaken their “wilder nature”. Wait for them to finish eating before approaching them.

A happy dog in the grass

7. Avoid stressful situations

Dogs often bite without “meaning it” because they’re a bit over-excited while playing. When this happens, they don’t have control over their reactions and maybe you touched their ear or tail accidentally, so they bit you. Therefore, when you see that your dog is a bit “hyper”, try to slow things down and let them calm down a little.

8. Train your pet

Lastly, to avoid being bitten by dogs, it’s really important that the animal is well-trained and knows good behaviour.  Dog training begins from just 12 weeks old. If you don’t have time or don’t know how, you could take them to a specialist dog school. This way you’ll avoid them attacking your family, friends, or passers-by. Don’t forget, a dog has teeth and jaws that can tear things and cause serious injury.


The contents of My Animals are written for informational purposes. They can't replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment from a professional. In the case of any doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.