I have counseled people in the past when their dog is attacked by another dog to monitor closely for several days even if there are no obvious injuries, because puncture wounds under fur can be almost impossible to see. Well, this week I had to follow my own advise.
Thursday evening after dark, my husband and I were walking Jack in the park. Someone decided to let her three dogs (I think it was three) go for a run. One of them came up to Jack. I didn't like how stiffly she was standing and within seconds, she nailed him. Jack squealed and bolted, my husband chased off the dog and her owner gathered her up and left us her contact info. I went over Jack very carefully and found nothing BUT his coat is so dense that it's hard to even get down to skin. Since it was dark when it happened I wasn't even sure where or if she'd bitten him.
I checked him again yesterday and found nothing, but this morning I was scratching his neck and felt a grimy hair mat. Closer examination found dried blood and an ugly-looking puncture. The wound was high on his neck behind his ear, and the huge amount of fur there made it invisible until started seeping. Bless the vet for taking us in at literally one minute before closing time on their half-day Saturdays. Jack was his usual "I hate restraint!" trembling self but they shaved the spot and determined the bite wound is all the way down to muscle. So 10 days of antibiotic and I need to keep a wound salve on it. Vet says it will most likely need surgery to clean and close the wound; it's so large the edges don't meet and so it may never heal on its own, though there is SOME chance it will. But he needs several days of antibiotic first. If you don't close it immediately before infections starts, you can't close it until the infection is under control.
Still waiting to hear back from the other owner; we left a message quite a while ago. Keep Jack in your thoughts; he is almost ten and I hate the thought of surgery. The would is seeping but there is not yet any swelling or lump and it doesn't seem very painful so hopefully we got the antibiotic started in time.
And please, please, please if your dog goes stiff and still when it meets another dog (like this dog did) and it didn't play-bow first, that is a very very bad sign. Happy confident dogs don't loom over other dogs like statues; that is the sign of a tense dog who is likely to attack. I have trained my dogs to look at me when I cheerfully say their names and this can stop a dog fight before it starts. Jack squealed repeatedly like a puppy when she got him instead of trying to fight back and that likely kept things from escalating.
Oh for crying out loud. I'm so sorry this happened. Stupid people who insist on letting their dogs run loose in public parks...I hope you're able to get the woman to pay the vet bills!
The stiff-legged approach indeed is a sign of annoyance or aggression. However, it's worth noting that this behavior may not always appear when a dog is contemplating mayhem.
My Late, Great German Shepherd Anna was strongly dog-averse. Truly: she felt the highest and best use of her talents was to rid the planet of other dogs. Her strategy involved tricking them into thinking she was OK with them.
The fellow dog-lover would come over with their dog. I would warn them that my dog would bite their dog. Anna would grin and wag her tail, putting on her Happy Dog act. The fellow dog-lover would then coo, "Ohhh nooo, they just want to PLAY!" and proceed to approach, over my protests. Anna would lure the animal closer with what looked for all the world like friendly behavior. As soon as the other dog would get within reach, she'd go right straight for its neck. If a dog off the leash came anywhere near us, Anna would first lull it into a false sense of confidence and then try to kill it.
The twin messages to this tale: 1) do NOT assume a strange dog is friendly, even if it doesn't signal aggression or discomfort; and 2) if the other person warns you off, believe it.
I no longer take my corgis to the neighborhood park (which is NOT a dog park) because of the people who feel they have a right to let their dogs run around off the leash. The risk of what you describe is always present... Avoid!
Thanks for bringing up this issue. I hope Jack feels better fast and gets back to business as usual. I just wanted to add that I try to carry Pet Safe spray shield animal defense spray with me when I've taken Tipper on walks. I can't begin to tell you how many times, I've had to contend with off leash dogs running up to Tipper or aggressive cats trying to pounce on her. The spray is safe for use on animals and will not harm them at all. It might not work as well as pepper spray, though, so I'm not sure if it will ward off very aggressive breeds.
I have never have to use it so far, because I've managed to whisk her away from snapping and aggressive smaller dogs, but you just never know. I can't believe some owners! Once, a dog jumped out of an open car window to chase Tipper down the street!
wow! You've had even more exciting adventures than I have! This very morning, I heard of something called "bear spray," which is made for hikers to ward off bears encountered in the wild. Apparently it's a very dilute pepper spray that comes out in a haze instead of squirting for the eyes. Doesn't hurt the bears (we're told...) but causes them to go away if you've disturbed and thereby annoyed them. Turns out pepper spray is illegal in Canada, but bear spray is OK.
Is the Pet Safe the citronella spray that's with anti-bark collars?
Here's a link to it. I believe that it does have citronella in it:
I've heard of bear spray but I figured it was overkill unless I was dealing with wildlife on a hiking trail instead of domestic animals.
Yup. I had a can of pepper spray discharge inside a hot car. Fortunately no one was in the car at the time. But it wrecked the car's interior -- I couldn't get the stuff out of the upholstery or off the steering wheel, so ended up having to get rid of the vehicle. At least the worst citronella will do in your car is repel mosquitoes. ;-)
Send the neighbors here, so they can feel better about coyotes. They just showed on the evening news that someone had sent in photos of 3 mountain lion cubs that had taken residence on their porch. The people did not disturb them, just waited for them to eventually leave. Last winter we found mountain lion tracks coming right up to our front door, as well as to the side door, right alongside some rabbit tracks.... Everybody has to be somewhere!