Your dog uses his mouth for more than just eating and barking -- it's also his most powerful weapon. Disagreements are common among canines, although most are settled without bloodshed. When an altercation escalates to fighting, there's a good chance that at least one of the participants will get bitten.
Stop the Madness
When two dogs start fighting, it's up to the owners to break the fight up quickly. The owners of both dogs should assist in the effort. Yell, stomp your feet or bang objects together to make loud noises to startle the dogs and stop the brawl. Wedge an opaque object between them to block their view of each other. A piece of wood, trash can or any other nearby object will do in an emergency. As a last resort, the owners can pull the dogs apart by gripping their back legs right under the hip near the joint, according to the ASPCA. Lift their legs up in the air and walk backwards. Be aware that getting involved in the fight can lead to injury and should only be used as a last resort measure.
Seek Medical Assistance
Take your dog to the vet if there's any indication that he was bitten. Consider asking for the other dog owner's contact information if his dog was responsible for the attack. Check your pet's entire body for other damage if you notice a wound. Sometimes dog bites are a lot worse than they look, so take a trip to the vet's office. All dog bites are considered contaminated due to the high levels of bacteria in the canine mouth, so VCA Animal Hospitals recommend they be cleaned to combat infection.
If the other dog's owner was negligent and did not have his dog on a leash, you may have the right to request that he pay for your pet's medical bills. It's possible to pursue a legal case against him to seek reimbursement if he refuses to pay voluntarily. Consult a lawyer about the matter. Some legal experts specialize in dog bites and animal injuries, so they may be able to advise you on your legal options according to local laws.
Keep Your Dog Safe
If your dog was the aggressor in the incident, then it's time to curb his behavior before it happens again. Always keep your dog on a leash when you take him outdoors. If you let him out in the yard, make sure he's in an area enclosed by a fence. This keeps him from getting out and stops other dogs from getting in. Consider carrying repellant spray to ward off hostile dogs and prevent future fights. Conduct obedience training and behavioral therapy to curb aggressive behavior in your pet. Consult with a professional dog handler and sign your pet up for classes if necessary.
Quentin Coleman has written for various publications, including All Pet News and Safe to Work Australia. He spent more tan 10 years nursing kittens, treating sick animals and domesticating semi-feral cats for a local animal shelter. He graduated from the University of Delaware with a bachelor's degree in journalism.