Dog Attacks

Dog attacks are scary and traumatic for both pet owners and their pets. It is a little known fact that a dog attack is likely to cause significant damage under the surface of a wound. For this reason, it is important to know what to do when a dog attack occurs.

Aggression in animals is a natural instinct – however, there are ways to manage aggressive behaviour. If you are worried your dog is showing signs of aggressive behaviour, talk to your local vet about the steps you can take to prevent your dog from attacking other animals.

Councils around Australia have different local laws surrounding what is classed as a dangerous dog, however most councils agree that a dog who has:

  • seriously attacked another animal or a human
  • has acted in a way to cause fear in a human or animal

will generally be classified as a dangerous dog. It is your responsibility as a dog owner to comply with the requirements imposed by your local council to contain and manage your pet at all times, but particularly when your dog is classified as a dangerous dog or if your dog is under investigation for classification.

There may also be differing registration fees imposed by your local council if your dog has been found to be a dangerous dog. Be sure to check your local council website or contact your local council if you are planning on adopting a dog to check which breeds are prohibited from being owned, as in most cases these dogs will be seized by the council and euthanised according to that council’s local law requirements.

Why dogs attack other dogs and humans

Although there are a variety of reasons dogs may attack other dogs and humans, there are some animalistic instincts that may lead to aggressive behaviour in dogs:

  • Territorial behaviour towards objects, spaces, people, and/or food
  • Fear of other humans, objects, spaces, people
  • The presence of trauma leading to anxiety and fear in dogs
  • Noise and unusual human/animal activity within the household
  • An animal who is in pain from injury, illness, or disease

While it can be obvious that a dog may possess aggressive tendencies (see below, signs of an aggressive dog), it is not always obvious and can be due to a mix of different reasons (for more information.).