How common are dog fight injuries?

Injuries from dog-on-dog violence are commonly seen at Vets Now. These can range from small punctures in the skin to deep flesh wounds and in some rare cases can be fatal.

If your dog is aggressive towards other dogs, then you should seek advice from your vet and consider putting a muzzle on them. Bear in mind that there is always an underlying reason for aggressive behaviour in dogs so it’s important you speak to your vet to rule out illness or injury. If your vet can’t get to the bottom of your dog’s behaviour it’s possible they will refer you to a dog behaviourist.

What to do if another dog attacks your dog?

If your dog is bitten or attacked by another dog in the UK, here’s what to do:

  • Keep them calm and warm in a blanket and keep the nose and mouth exposed.
  • Try not to handle them more than necessary, as they may be very painful even if not obvious on the outside.
  • If your dog is small, place them in a wash basket or box lined with a blanket or towel.
  • If your dog is large, then place them on a large blanket for easy lifting.
  • If your dog has a bleeding wound, flush it with warm salt water and then apply a clean cloth or dressing and apply firm pressure during transport (link to bleeding wounds article).
  • If your dog’s chest is punctured, cover the wound with a clean, damp cloth or cling film and bandage the chest tightly enough to seal it.
  • If your dog’s abdomen is punctured and internal organs are protruding, don’t let the dog lick at them.  Rinse the exposed organs immediately in clean water if you can. Use a warm, damp sheet to wrap your dog’s abdomen and take him to a vet urgently.

If you need to break up a dog fight try dousing the animals with water – do not attempt to break the fight up yourself as you can easily get bitten.

Image of dog violence for Vets Now article on my dog got attacked by another dog
Injuries from dog-on-dog violence are commonly seen at Vets Now

My dog attacked another dog unprovoked, could I be in trouble?

If a dog is deemed to be “dangerously out of control” then the owner could face a fine of up to £5000, a jail sentence of up to six months, and a ban on future dog ownership. The dog may also be put to sleep and the owner may be ordered to pay the veterinary bills of the other dog.

If a dog is allowed to injure a guide dog, the owner can be sentenced to up to three years in jail and fined. Civil proceedings can also be taken against the owner of a dog that’s dangerous and not kept under proper control.

Can aggressive dogs be rehabilitated?

There are a number of factors that determine whether a dog’s aggressive tendencies can be curbed. One of the biggest is age, with dogs under two standing a far better chance of rehabilitation. Dogs who are older are more difficult to retrain because their behaviours are much more entrenched. The key is to socialise dogs as early as possible.

According to animal behaviourists, it’s far harder to stop dogs being aggressive to other animals than it is to people. This is because people control resources dogs want like food which they can use to their advantage.