When a dog is involved in a bite incident, it is common to find owners wringing their hand and claiming that their dog has never bitten anyone before. That might be true, but when a dog without a bite history attacks an adult or child, the attack may be linked to the general health of the dog.
Studies investigating the association between dog bite incidents and dog health have found that dogs with an undiagnosed medical condition are more likely to display behavioral problems than healthy dogs. New Jersey dog bite lawyers have witnessed this finding in numerous dog bite cases.
A recent study published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior found that friendly dogs responded differently to pain compared to more aggressive breeds. The researchers found that friendly breeds that are typically not linked to dog bite incidents tend to snap and bite without provocation when they are brought into contact with other human beings or animals if they are ill.
In contrast, more aggressive breeds like Dobermans, Rottweilers and pit bulls, which are more often associated with dog bite incidents, are not linked to an increased risk of bites when they are sick.
Researchers believe that this finding is related to the conditioning of the dog. Friendly dogs are not trained to avoid people because most people do not believe that their Chihuahua is at risk of biting someone. Therefore, if these breeds are experiencing pain from an undiagnosed medical condition, they may act out when brought into contact with another person or animal.
For example, a Chihuahua with joint pain may be more likely to bite a person trying to pet them because the dog does not know how to communicate his discomfort in other ways. On the other hand, a pit bull is trained to communicate discomfort to other people through non-contact behaviors like growling.
New Jersey dog bite lawyerswarn dog owners to be on the lookout for early signs of pain, like aggression, vocalization, changes in activity and changes in social interaction. Make sure that your pet receives his yearly physical with the vet, and understand that any kind of pain can lead to irritability which can translate into aggression.
The New Jersey dog bite lawyers at Helmer Paul Conley and Kasselman represent persons injured in dog bite incidents across New Jersey.