My dog is biting! | Village Vets

When it comes to matches made in heaven, none are as special or as beautiful as the one between your child and the family pet; one grows just as the other does, leading to a bond to be reckoned with. However, crises don’t care about these bonds and, when one does strike, it’s important for you as a parent (or as a responsible dog owner) to know the why and the how. We refer of course to dog bites and, though rare, they can happen to any one of us.


Why did my dog bite?

It’s easy to forget that Fred, the family pet, is still an animal. Compared to us, animals are far more instinctual creatures and, if threatened, will defend themselves in the only way they know how. But an animal doesn’t have to feel threatened to initiate a bite. Hidden ailments and infections that fly under the radar can often cause a dog great and, to us, unknown pain. Something as simple as petting or scratching, a thing you may have always done with your pet, can turn into a crisis very quickly if this is the case.

The long and the short of it is that a dog can bite for many reasons, however there are four main ones to keep in mind:

  1. When a dog feels threatened, when it feels scared or when it panics.
  2. When agitated or when touching a sore or tender part of their body.
  3. When a dog has been abused by a previous owner and is unfamiliar with a new owner.
  4. Accidentally during regular play (going for a ball the same time as you’re trying to pick it up).


Should I see a Vet or a Doctor?

No question is stupid in our book and, when you’re panicking, it can be hard to know which one you should be driving to. If your dog has been bitten, it’s a Vet, like us, that you’ll need. If you or a friend has been bitten, it’s a Doctor you’ll need. Most GP’s will have the tools and tinctures to handle the worst looking dog bites but, depending on the bite’s true severity, the recipient may need surgery or immediate medical care, in which case you should go straight to A&E.




Will I require an injection?

Yes; that’s the short answer. Even the family pet can harbour a range of deadly diseases which will require a tetanus injection immediately after the event; the most common of which being rabies. It’s never any harm to be on the right side of caution when it comes to unknowns like that of a dog bite. The injection itself is mostly painless and can be given to children without much fuss.

Aside from having to get an injection, the event itself and even the aftermath can be a traumatic, life-changing experience for anyone, especially for animal lovers. My poor Mother was bitten in the ear when she was sixteen by a bulldog and, to this day, she’s still not the better of it. Even after all that time, she has only now started to give dogs a chance once again. The most important thing is to take time, take stock and process the event properly, whether that’s through counselling or other means.

Emergencies are a part of life. They will happen to all of us at one point or another and all we can do is prepare and be prepared for them. For that reason, we are one of the only Vets in Dublin and Meath with a dedicated emergency service available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. To find out more about this service (preferably not during an emergency), click here. Otherwise, call 01 8213189 for our Meath and North Dublin clinic, or 01 2987510 for our South Dublin clinic.