What to do when your dog attacks or bites a person or an animal


Clashes between dogs can cause serious trauma, such as deep wounds

  • Publication date: February 29, 2012

The dog encounters They are not always peaceful. There may be conflicts, almost always, due to their sense of territoriality. This circumstance creates stress on the owners who, on occasion, see how exits to the street can turn into pitched battles every time another dog appears. Although the animal is obedient and calm with people, it can be aggressive in front of other dogs. Let's find out why and how to fix it.

Fights between dogs are dangerous because they can cause serious injuries. We must avoid by all means the bites. Therefore, if the dog is a fight with other animals, it should be carried tied and muzzled. In addition, it is not advisable to let the dog play if we are not sure that the other animal is docile and that our dog does not will attack. If the walks with the dog become a continuous conflict with other dogs, it is necessary to consider going to a canine trainer.

Fights with other dogs often occur because the animal is very territorial

It is not normal that, even if the dog is attached to the leash, he starts chasing another dog that passes by his side and barks, grunts or shows his teeth. The dog's relationship with his peers is normalized when they are registered: sniffing, body movements that transmit information (with ears or tail) or games, but not intimidation or attempted aggression by system.

Fights with other dogs can occur because the animal is very territorial, that is, interprets that another dog has invaded its space and threatens its leadership when it gets too close. The reaction is to intimidate the intruder: barks, growls, shows teeth and makes a attack threat. In most cases, the quarrel remains in a threat that translates into: "Don't get any closer or you'll see them with me." Clashes can also be triggered because there is a dog in heat in the area and males compete to woo her. In other cases, if the challenged dog responds with an aggression and the owners cannot control the situation, serious injuries are possible.

In a group of dogs fights and confrontations can occur due to hierarchical rivalry. Therefore, the owners must make it very clear that they are the leaders of the pack. Sometimes the dog growls, shows teeth and barks, but that does not imply that attack, he only warns that he is angry and deploys his weapons to threaten.

Dog fights and socialization problems

A dog that is not well socialized can develop relationship problems with other peers. You may not have been sufficiently related to other dogs in your puppy stage. Another cause may be that he has been separated from his mother and siblings too soon and has not had time to learn the basic rules of relationship with his peers.

Dog Fights and Serious Bites

A dog can be seriously injured by bites. In this case you have to go to the veterinarian, but first, we can practice some first aid:

  • Clean wounds with serum, water or iodized solutions.
  • Cover the affected area with gauze or clean cloths.
  • To prevent the animal from biting us, if it is scared, it is advisable to put the muzzle.
  • Fever, inflammations or states of depression, between 24 and 48 hours after the attack, are normal.

Hemorrhages caused by the bites are very spectacular and the first to get nervous are the owners. For this reason, you have to keep a cool head to act consistently. We have to convey tranquility to the animal that is sore and scared, if we do not want to make the situation worse.

Hemorrhage can be considerable. In this case, we will try to stop it while pressing it with your hand, gauze or a cloth. If a tourniquet is not well known, it is better not to take a risk, because gangrene can be caused.

The most serious complications associated with this type of lesions are: muscle lacerations, abscesses, fractures and perforations of the lung or abdominal organs such as intestine, liver or spleen.

In most cases, the quarrel is a threat, which translates into: "Do not get any closer or you will see them with me"

Supposing the wounds They are located in the neck, near the spine, or if the dog cannot move alone, sudden movements must be avoided. To move it, you can improvise a stretcher with a blanket, although it is better to do it with something rigid and flat. When the animal is unconscious or in shock, try to keep its head up and not bend or compress the neck. In any case, we must not forget go to the vet, because internal injuries can be much more serious than external injuries.

If the dog gets into fights easily, take him with a muzzle and attached with the leash.

If the relationship with other animals becomes a problem and the time of the walk, in continuous fights with other dogs, consult with a dog trainer.

In case of injuries during a fight, go to the veterinarian. These types of wounds can be deep and are at risk of becoming infected if they do not heal well.

What to do if your dog has bitten a person or another animal?

As we have explained, if your dog attacks another dog or a person, an evaluation process will begin. It does not matter if the person who has suffered the attack or the owner of the attacked dog files a complaint or not, the assessment process of the attacking dog will be the same. The only difference is that in parallel to the process of valuation of the dog, legal proceedings will be initiated that will determine whether the attacked and plaintiff must be compensated.

If the attacked person goes to a medical center, a health center, hospital or emergency room for the bite of the dog, in the medical center itself will initiate an animal attack protocol. In the part of injuries that the doctor will perform, all the data related to the dog and its owner, identification, address, telephone number and details of the attack will be collected. The health center will inform the agency dependent on the management of animal attacks, which will depend on our location.

Who can report a dog's attack?

The notification of an attack A person can proceed in several ways simultaneously: For the police when making a complaint, by the medical center that attends to the attacked person, for the attacker by going directly to the animal protection center responsible for the treatment of dangerous animals or by the dog owner when going to report an attack.

Once the attack notice has been received at the Animal Protection Center, the owner of the animal will be required to transfer it to the center for evaluation. If it has not been required by means of notification, the owner has 72 hours to appear there, since it is mandatory the personification with the dog. Failure to do so could incur administrative and even criminal fines.

Along with the dog, various documentation and the animal's health card must be taken to verify that the vaccines are up-to-date, as well as the documentation of the identification chip implantation, the Potentially Dangerous Animal Tenure License and the registration certificate in the Registry of Potentially Dangerous Animals. Check this list if you want to know which dogs are considered dangerous depending on your Autonomous Community.

Too Obligatory civil liability insurance for dogs must be carried if there is any breed of dog included in the registry of potentially dangerous animals. Finally you must go with your documentation in order, National Identity Document (DNI) or passport.

The dog will remain in quarantine for 14 days (This period depends on which Autonomous Community you are in since the legislation in this area is different in each region), a period in which the degree of aggressiveness of the animal will be assessed and if it poses a risk to other people. Quarantine can be done at the dog owner's home if the veterinarian in charge of the Animal Protection Center considers it. During that period, veterinarians will ask the owner various things, for example if the dog before the attack has stopped eating or drinking, if it has been more active or less, etc.

After the quarantine, an opinion will be made that will rate the dog as potentially dangerous or not based on aggressiveness and risk to people and / or other animals and, consequently, appropriate measures will be established, re-education, obligation to wear a muzzle, for example.

This opinion can be appealed by administrative means by means of a remedy of replacement and if this were unfavorable, an appeal before the Contentious-Administrative Court of your region.

After the quarantine period has passed if the opinion has been favorable, the dog may leave the house if the period has passed at home or it may be taken to the Center if the quarantine was spent there.

This process is repeated exactly the same if, instead of one person, your dog attacks another dog. In this case, the notification to the Animal Protection Center can come through the police if there has been a complaint, by the complaint of the veterinarian who attends to the injured dog or by the notification of the owner of the attacked dog. The deadlines are the same, ending the process with an opinion that may be subject to administrative recourse or resort to ordinary justice.

If the dog dies before the end of the quarantine and observation period, a sample of brain tissue from the deceased dog will be analyzed to rule out the possible presence of rabies and act accordingly. The death of your dog, if it has initiated the attack, does not exonerate you from civil or criminal liability.

Legal responsibility when your dog attacks a person or other animal

The person responsible for the dog and the person who assumes all legal responsibilities is always the person who has it registered in his name. When the compulsory pet vaccination card is created and the mandatory microchip is placed, the dog is integrated into a register and the person responsible for it is registered and converts the registered person as its legal owner.

The national legislation on dangerous dogs contemplates all the legal content that must be taken into account and can be consulted here:

  • Royal Decree 287/2002, of March 22, which develops Law 50/1999, of December 23. >
  • The list of the different dog breeds considered dangerous differs in each Autonomous Community. You can check it in the previous link.

The dog owner's registry has its logic, since the Spanish Civil Code regulates the responsibility regarding the possession of animals, specifically in article 1095 the following:

The possessor of an animal, or the one who uses it, is responsible for the damages it will cause, even if it is lost or lost. This responsibility will only cease in the event that the damage came from force majeure or fault of the one who had suffered it.

"data-medium-file =" "data-large-file =" https: //www.sectorasegurador .es / wp-content / uploads / 2018/01 / dogs-bite.jpg "/> What happens if a dog bites

So the owner of the animal, that is The person on whom the dog is registered is civilly liable for the damages that his animal may cause. The Law contains two exceptions in which the owner is not held liable for possible damages that may occur:

  • In case of force majeure, theft, fire, an earthquake etc.
  • If the inciter of the attack is the injured party. That is, if the dog attacks a thief, if the animal has been injured, etc.

If it is a dog who has been attacked, it is possible that the owner when filing a complaint with the police also files a civil suit in which he claims the expenses of the veterinarian and its derived expenses and compensation for damages.

If the dog has attacked a person, the attending medical center may demand payment of the medical expenses incurred.

To cover possible expenses and compensation, which can sometimes be very high, It is highly recommended to have pet insurance so that you can cover medical, veterinary expenses and possible compensation for damages.

If you want to know more about this type of insurance we recommend that you consult these pages:

Why does my dog ​​attack other dogs?

It is not usual for a dog to attack all other dogs found. This behavior can be due to different causes: inheritance, learning, lack of socialization, lack of leadership on our part ...

Before attacking, it is easy for the dog threatens his opponent. Generally, it is a pseudo attack, in which the dog threatens his opponent without touching him. Such type of action responds to aggressive mechanisms>One dog threatens another by showing teeth and growling. It is a warning signal that usually ends without serious consequences.

Some attacks, however, can take place without prior notice and generally arise because of a dispute in the hierarchical order. The attack without threats in any other circumstance responds to a pattern of abnormal or pathological behavior. In the case of wanting to expel the opponent from the pack, the attack will be of this type (without prior threat) and the submission of the other dog will not be accepted.

The threat, therefore, It is a sign of aggression that your dog uses before his opponent before attacking him. To placate a threat, dogs use appeasement behavior. When the adversary shows the appeasement or submission behavior, or undertakes the withdrawal, it is very rare that the one who executes the threat continues with the attack.

Appeasement behavior aims to decrease the aggressiveness of the opponent. Dogs have different signals for this: giving the front leg, pushing with the muzzle and twist movements are signs of calm. Other forms of appeasement it consists of hiding the expressions of aggression by closing the mouth and facing the opposite side of the adversary. Also sexual behavior can respond to this intention: the dog that exposes its backside to eliminate all signs of aggressiveness.

My dog ​​has been attacked by another dog, what should I do?

If your dog has been attacked by another dog you can initiate legal actions to claim the cost of the veterinarian's expenses and its derivatives.

To start the claim process, a civil lawsuit must be filed in which all veterinary expenses are claimed. It must be accredited by means of the invoice or invoices issued by the veterinary center or its holder, in addition the expense derived from the cure of the animal, medications, special foods, transport from the clinic to your home, etc. can be included. It should be explained clearly and in detail how the attack occurred, evidence of the attack should be provided such as photos, witnesses and a veterinarian's report.

Within that complaint, an amount can be requested as compensation for damages, as the Civil Code allows.

If the sentence is favorable, the judge will detail the amount to be paid to the owner of the attacked dog. The person responsible for the payment will be the owner of the attacking dog, that is, the person listed in his name. If the owner of the attacking dog has pet insurance, the insurance company will make the payment effective.

This civil procedure does not exclude criminal proceedings and the owner of the dog may also file a complaint based on public safety.

If the attack has been carried out on a person, a criminal procedure will be initiated, in which the responsibility of the dog owner is elucidated and a fine and compensation for damages will be filed and, in the most serious cases, it is possible that even a jail sentence.

Ways to prevent an attack and responsibility

To prevent your dog from attacking another animal or a person, it is advisable to encourage a good education for your pet.

Dogs often bite because they believe that another dog has invaded their land and may question their leadership, since they are very territorial animals. When this happens the dog barks, growls, shows his teeth, makes a hint of attack and then bites.

Another cause of attack is because the animal feels that it must protect something or someone very valuable to it. It can be a ball, food or its own owner. Therefore, it can become aggressive when the owner approaches another person or another dog.

The dog may feel fear and become aggressive because of this, in these cases try to defend against something or someone who interprets as a threat. If your dog has shown any of these symptoms it is necessary to always carry it with a muzzle and tied, and let it play with other dogs only if the other animal is docile.

Should we sacrifice a dog after having bitten another person or another dog?

This is a matter for which you should keep calm, because not all dogs that bite a person or other dog or animal end up slaughtered.

Whenever a dog initiates an attack and bites a person, dog or animal, it will be quarantined to observe and assess their behavior. Subsequently, professionals will decide whether the violent event is an isolated case or if the dog shows signs of violent behavior and can repeat the attacks.

Whatever the diagnosis of the professionals, the sacrifice is considered as the last option and will never occur until the quarantine time is over and an official opinion is made.

Now that you have all the information, you can act accordingly.

If you are the owner of a dog, and know that you have ever had aggressive behavior, it is highly advisable to take out pet insurance to minimize risks in cases of accidents and unforeseen events that usually produce very large compensation.

Finally, we want to invite you to share your experience with us through the comments if you have ever seen yourself in one of these situations. Tell us how it was resolved or ask us any other questions you may have. We will be happy to read you!

Oh! And if it's the first time you have a dog at home, don't forget to read this guide about everything you have to buy when you adopt a dog. You'll love it!

Traffic accidents.

If your dog is involved in a traffic accident, you should take it immediately to the veterinarian. Because of the coup, he could find himself in shock and react unpredictably, so approach him slowly and with caution. If possible, place it on a blanket (or use a car mat) and take it to the vet as quickly as you can. If you cannot move him, you will have to ask your veterinarian to go directly to the accident site.

Bones, sticks and balls.

Certain objects, such as bones, sticks or balls, can stay lodged or pierced in the mouth. If this happens, you may notice that he tries to remove it by rubbing his mouth with his leg, or that he has difficulty closing his mouth. You can try to extract the object with your hand or with tweezers but, if you don't get it, you will have to go to the vet to do it under sedation. As prevention is always better than cure, never let your dog play with very small balls and avoid playing with him to throw sticks.


If your dog burns with boiling water, oil, chemicals or ice, he will have to receive medical attention immediately. Slight burns can be treated at home, cleaning the affected area with a mild antiseptic and applying a soothing cream or gel, for example with aloe vera. Severe burns need veterinary attention and you should take your dog to the veterinarian immediately.

Cuts and wounds.

Dogs can be cut or injured, especially on the paws, if they walk on a cutting surface, for example with broken glass. If your dog makes a cut, clean the affected area with a diluted disinfectant, such as chlorhexidine and, if necessary, then apply a bandage. Consult your veterinarian if you are not able to stop the bleeding or if the wound is severe.

Broken or torn nails.

Broken or torn nails can be very painful and tend to get infected quickly. They also bleed a lot. If possible, try bandaging the leg and then take your dog to the vet. You may be given antibiotics to prevent an infection, and you may have to cut the affected nail under sedation or anesthesia.

Insect bites.

If your dog has been bitten by an insect and swelling forms around the mouth, nose or throat, it may begin to have difficulty breathing, so take it immediately to the veterinarian. If the bite is not causing you any serious problems, you can relieve the discomfort by applying a cold compress to the affected area.

If your dog shows obvious pain and cannot support weight on one of the legs, you should take it immediately to the veterinarian, since it could be a fracture. In less severe cases, investigate if you have any broken or broken nails, or a thorn or grit stuck in the pads.


Seizures are characterized by jerky, repeated and uncontrolled movements, often accompanied by movements of chewing of the jaw and abundant salivation. When they suffer seizures, dogs often fall to the floor sideways and remain unconscious. If your dog has seizures, do not try to hold him. Instead, move away from him any furniture or object that could be damaged while the attack lasts. Then, turn off any device that could produce sensory stimuli, such as lights, radio, television or washing machine, and darkens the room so that you can recover with ease. Keep in mind that you should ALWAYS check with the veterinarian if your dog has seizures.


The best advice that can be given regarding heat stroke is that prevention is better than cure. Make sure your dog does not stay in the sun for a long time on hot days and, in summer, avoid midday heat. If, in spite of everything, you suffer a mild heat stroke, cool it as best you can with wet towels or a fan, and make sure you drink plenty of fresh water and rest. Severe heat stroke requires immediate veterinary attention.


Some dogs are very curious and there is always the possibility that your dog eats something that it should not. As with heat stroke, prevention is better than cure, so it is best to convert your home and garden to "dog-proof" places, making sure that you cannot access any substance that may be harmful, such as poisons, bleach or chocolate. If you suspect that your dog has ingested something harmful, try going to the veterinarian with the container of that substance, so that he can quickly identify it and, if it exists, administer an antidote. If the worst happens, go to the vet urgently.