It’s the duty of dog owners to keep their animals in control at all times. Unfortunately, not all dog owners are responsible, which can lead to dog attacks and bites capable of causing significant damage. When encountering an aggressive dog, there are certain things you can to do mitigate the situation, as explained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

When approaching a leashed dog, always ask before petting it. Additionally, don’t make any sudden movements or gestures, as these might make the dog fearful. Not all animals bite out of aggression or anger. Many bite because they’re afraid, so you should strive to make the dog feel as comfortable as possible in your presence. 

If you’re approached by a dog on its own who is displaying aggressive behavior, remain calm. Command the dog by saying “no” in a strong, loud voice, but refrain from looking it directly in the eye. Don’t run, as the dog is likely to chase you. If it does attack, try to get something between you and the canine to protect yourself. 

Dog attacks not only cause physical harm, they can also spread illness and infection. No matter how minor the dog bite is, it’s recommended that you seek out medical assistance to make sure the wound isn’t infected. If bitten by an unfamiliar dog, you‘ll need to speak to a doctor about your rabies risk. While the canine-to-human transfer of rabies is rare in the United States, the disease can be deadly for a majority of people if medical care isn’t sought. If there is a risk of rabies, there is a vaccine in place that can also be used as a treatment for infected individuals.