Dogs — they make us smile, help us fill up our days in meaningful ways, and are a joy to have around. Because of this, it is no surprise that when our furry friend gets attacked by another dog, extreme stress and anxiety can kick in. To help you and your dog be prepared in case you ever find yourself in this tense situation, POPSUGAR spoke with two vets who gave us the rundown on exactly what to do if your dog is ever attacked.
What Do I Do If My Dog Is Attacked By Another Dog?
The first thing you can try to do is separate the two dogs — although it is important to keep in mind that this can be very dangerous for both the owners and the dogs involved. Michelle Lugones, DVM, veterinarian at Best Friends Animal Society, shared that you can break up the fight by creating a loud sound (some owners actually carry air horns for this) or by putting material between the dogs, such as plywood. She also advised that the wheelbarrow method can be used — however, she cautioned it must be used on both dogs simultaneously. "Both dogs are grabbed by both their hind legs and dragged far away from each other at the same time," explained Dr. Lugones. "Keep in mind there is always the risk that you will not be successful in breaking up a dog fight."
What Do I Do After My Dog Has Been Attacked By Another Dog?
Dr. Lugones advised that the first thing you should do after your dog is attacked is exchange contact information with the other dog's owner, take a photo of the other dog involved, and bring your pet into the vet as soon as possible. "Many bite wounds are more extensive than they appear because underlying muscles and soft tissues are damaged under the surface of the skin," Dr. Lugones shared. "And, fur can make it hard to see puncture wounds."
While at the vet, you can expect them to clip your dog's fur, clean their wounds, and administer and prescribe any antibiotics that are needed. If the attack was more serious, wound drains and sutures may need to be used. It is also important for the vet to check to see if your dog is up to date on their rabies vaccination — if they are not, you may have to have your dog vaccinated on the spot. "Left untreated, bite wounds can lead to serious infections and tissue death," cautioned Dr. Lugones. She also said that if your dog has injuries as a result of a dog attack, you may want to take photos of the injuries and file a police report.
Anne Vargo, DMV, vet at Emergency Vet 24/7, advised that it is important to apply pressure to stop any wound bleeding while waiting to arrive at the vet. According to research, applying pressure to a wound, whether done to a human or an animal, can help slow or even stop the bleeding associated with an injury. "Also, [it is important to] ask for the rabies vaccine records from the other dog owner," Dr. Vargo said.
Overall, dealing with a dog attack can be stressful and trying to separate them can be dangerous — because of this Dr. Lugones explained that dog attack prevention is the best option. "By safely training and socializing a dog throughout its life, knowing your dog's personality, and being able to correctly read body language, most unwanted dog interactions can be avoided," she shared.