In Florida, dog biting can be a problem as it is anywhere when humans and canines interact negatively; first comes the pain of the incident itself, followed by the pain of the lawsuit that could very well happen after someone sustains injury, especially if the suit is being brought by the angry parent of an injured child. It’s impossible to completely prevent accidents from occurring, but there’s an easy way you can help ward off some incidents—and all you need is a brush and comb.
The simple act of grooming your dog provides a host of benefits. Beyond the obvious gain of eliminating tangled and matted hair and reducing shedding, grooming your dog gives you the opportunity to examine his or her body from nose to tail and in the process, gain valuable information—because if the dog has an undiscovered injury or is pain, he or she may be more likely to bite—even a dog that is normally a docile animal that has no history of aggressive behavior.
One owner, for example, reported that while bathing her golden retriever, she found a sharp thorn had wedged itself deeply between her dog’s toes. The dog hadn’t been limping yet was clearly relieved when the owner was able to remove the thorn with tweezers. Another owner discovered a deep laceration on the underbelly of her chocolate Lab when she was brushing him; the dog cried out in pain and actually snapped at her. The wound and the dog’s unusual reaction prompted the owner to immediately take the dog to the vet for a closer look (instead of to the dog park as planned, where many dogs and other people would have been encountered). Good thing, because the wound needed stitches and medication. In this case, grooming dog allowed the owner to not only discover a life-threatening injury in her beloved pet, it allowed her to find it before injury to herself or others occurred.
So forget the professional groomer–get out the dog shampoo, a brush and comb, nail clippers, towels, and make a point of bonding with your pet over a bath. Run your fingers over your dog and look for swelling, cuts and lacerations or other wounds, and foreign objects that may be causing your pet pain. Doing this can help prevent reduce incidents of Florida dog biting and make your dog happier and healthier to boot.