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How Should You React During A Dog Attack?

dog attack preventionAlthough there are preventative measures to keep you safe from dog attacks and dog bites, sometimes an animal attack cannot be avoided. You could be attacked unexpectedly or you could be attacked by a dog despite your best efforts. Do you know ways to handle a dog attack that can help minimize injuries and prevent the dog from becoming more aggressive?
  • Protect your neck and face. Some of the worst injuries from dog attacks are related to the face, eyes, mouth, and neck. Protect those areas of your body as well as you can during an attack to prevent facial scarring, vision impairment, facial nerve damage, and potentially fatal throat injuries. If you are able, pull your shirt up over your face and cover your face with your arms and hands. Bring your chin down to your chest to protect your throat.
  • Stay calm. Dogs instinctually sense fear and could become more confident in their attack if they think that they are in charge of a situation. Staying calm will also allow you to think clearly and make the best choices to protect yourself.
  • Curl into a ball and remain still and silent. Your natural reaction may be to flail around, scream for help, or run. However, in many cases it is better to curl into a tight ball, protect your face as described above, while remaining quiet. Hopefully, the dog will lose interest in you and stop attacking. Struggling against the dog can also cause worse wounds.
  • Don't hit the dog in the skull. Dogs will not be harmed by this, and it will simply agitate an already aggressive animal. If you do fight back, focus on the sensitive parts of the dog, such as behind his neck, his nose, and his eyes.  Still, attacking the dog may only lead to further acts of aggression.
  • If someone else is being attacked, don't try to pull them away. Instead, try to hit the dog on the back of the neck. Trying to pull the victim away could create dangerous tear wounds. If your own dog is being attacked, do not interfere - it is not worth putting your life at risk.


Immediately following a dog bite it is imperative that the victim receives professional medical attention. Not only for their well-being, but also to document in medical records the cause and extent of the injuries caused by the animal. Learn about important medical tests to request after a dog bite.