Tuesday, December 23, 2014

How should you break up a fight between two dogs?

Most of us don’t think that our pets will be harmed in the safety of our own homes. Unfortunately, accidents and aggressive behaviors can occur. One of my neighbors told me that his dog was attacked by a friend’s dog who was visiting. The dog was not trained, and the owner said the dog had never acted like this before. My neighbor’s dog suffered serious injuries, and had to be treated by a veterinarian immediately. Thankfully, the dog is on the mend.

I told my neighbor that he should report the incident, and that his friend and her dog must take dog training classes. I also spoke to DACVB and Veterinary News Network member Dr. Valarie Tynes on what to do if your dog is in a fight. She offers the following tips:

  1. Some pets carry specific pathogenic bacteria that could cause some serious illnesses if introduced into a human’s bloodstream.  If you are bitten by a pet, thoroughly cleanse the bite with a good antiseptic and then seek medical attention.
  2. To disrupt a dog fight, consider using any sort of loud noise that might distract the animals. Whistles, air horns or even bells could work.
  3. If your pet responds to the doorbell, go ring it. Other options might include using words that typically motivate your pet, like “walk,” “car ride,” etc. Be sure to use a loud, but happy tone of voice.
  4. Physically interrupting the altercation by covering the dogs with a large, thick blanket can also help to disorient them and calm them down. Another successful option is to use a baby gate or chair to force your way in between the dogs. This might then enable you to move one dog out of harm’s way.
  5. Spray your dog with water or a plain carbonated beverage.
  6. An important thing to remember is that if your pet has shown any aggressive tendencies towards people or pets, you need to seek professional help. Far too many owners wait until the problem becomes severe.
  7. The longer a behavior issue continues, the more difficult it will be to correct. This could mean relinquishing or even euthanizing the pet.

If your pet has shown aggressive behavior, please seek a consultation with your veterinarian immediately. He or she can help you correct the behavior.

Michele C. Hollow is a journalist and author who writes about pets and wildlife.

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