Dog bite dangers: What you need to know - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

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Alford says if a dog becomes withdrawn, runs from the kids who are around him, or starts to growl, it's best to separate them from the children.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>>

  • Back to School Jamboree with Hosea Feed The Hungry

    Back to School Jamboree with Hosea Feed The Hungry

    Hosea Feed the Hungry will host their annual Back to School Jamboree on Sunday, July 13, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. at Turner Field. Children will receive a backpack filled with school supplies.

    Hosea Feed the Hungry will host their annual Back to School Jamboree on Sunday, July 13, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. at Turner Field. Children will receive a backpack filled with school supplies.

  • Citizens concerned over Fulton County road

    Citizens concerned over Fulton County road

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 10:44 AM EDT2014-07-29 14:44:05 GMT
    A local advocate group says their part of town has been neglected for years by the Georgia Department of Transportation. The group "Citizens for Better Roads in South Fulton County" says finally, improvements are coming to I-285 where they live.
    A local advocate group says their part of town has been neglected for years by the Georgia Department of Transportation. The group "Citizens for Better Roads in South Fulton County" says finally, improvements are coming to I-285 where they live.
  • Good Day Atlanta

    Will they melt? Good Day tests Walmart ice cream sandwiches

    Will they melt? Good Day tests Walmart ice cream sandwiches

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 10:23 AM EDT2014-07-29 14:23:17 GMT
    A summertime treat makes headlines for its reported unusual longevity. A mom in Cincinnati, Ohio told WCPO-TV that she left her son's Walmart ice cream sandwich outside overnight- and it never fully melted!
    A summertime treat makes headlines for its reported unusual longevity. A mom in Cincinnati, Ohio told WCPO-TV that she left her son's Walmart ice cream sandwich outside overnight- and it never fully melted!
Powered by WorldNow

WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
485 S. Highland St.
Memphis, TN 38111

Main Station: (901) 320-1313
Newsroom: (901) 320-1340

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