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When it comes to dog bites, all dogs pose a threat

While widely regarded as man's best friend, a dog is an animal and no matter how seemingly docile or tame, every dog has certain instincts that, if triggered, can result in the display of aggressive behavior.

Many San Diego area residents have likely read or seen news stories about a dog that's bitten or attacked someone. Frequently, these stories focus on a specific breed of dog that is considered to be naturally aggressive and dangerous. While some breeds do appear to display genetic proclivities towards aggression, in many cases a dog's behavior is tied more to specific circumstances.

For example, a dog is more likely to be aggressive if bothered while eating, sleeping or caring for puppies. Additionally, a dog that is sick, injured or restrained is likely to feel venerable and may therefore act defensively, particularly when approached by strangers.

A dog bite injury can be physically and emotionally painful and traumatizing. Injuries resulting from a dog bite may include puncture wounds, lacerations, cuts and torn flesh and tissue. In some cases, individuals who suffer dog bite injuries may require stitches or surgery.

To help prevent a dog from biting or attacking, dog owners are advised to always keep a dog on a leash while out walking and ensure a dog is restrained or confined while at home. Additionally, dog owners should feel empowered to say no to children and other strangers who may approach and request to pet a dog.

Ultimately, a dog's owner is responsible and liable for any injuries that result from a dog's aggression. In cases where a dog bites or attacks another individual, the dog owner should tend to the victim, seek medical help and cooperate with animal control authorities.

Source: San Diego Human Society, "WHAT WILL IT TAKE FOR YOUR DOG TO BITE?, 2014

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