What to Do If Your Dog Gets Attacked on a Walk

Updated on July 4, 2019
clivewilliams profile image

I am an animal lover, dog owner, and pet blogger! I have two dogs who are just as wacko as me.

Dog attacked
Dog attacked

When Dogs Attack Dogs

Nothing is more painful than waking up with your dog and going for a nice walk in the morning only to be attacked by a stray dog or an unsecured dog. Most of the time, these unprovoked dog attacks can lead to the maiming of the victim or even the death of the dog being attacked. Dog owners know the horror of seeing their dogs being mauled by another dog and not being able to do anything about it. In most of these dog attack cases, it is the large dog that attacks the smaller dog. Here are a few pointers I have gathered from my own experience and from those I know.

Dog Attack
Dog Attack

What to Do If Your Dog Is Being Attacked by Another Dog

1. Scope the Walk Zone

I always tell people prevention is better than cure. Before you decide on walking your dog, scope out the community and neighborhood for about a week. Get to know the streets a little and see if there are stray animals roaming the streets. Ascertain who has dogs nearby and how these dogs are kept. Dog owners should have proper retention areas to prevent their dogs from jumping or breaking down weak fences to attack people or other dogs. You cannot predict all eventualities because a stray dog may pop up from nowhere or an owner may not have leashed his dog and left the gate open. You can still reduce the odds by knowing the surroundings.

2. Release the Leash

Many times when dogs are being attacked by other dogs, the leash helps to keep the other dog which is being attacked in a useless position. The attacking dog has free movement while the leashed dog being attacked is restricted of its natural defensive instincts. If your dog is being mauled, release the leash so your dog can either run away or have a fighting chance. Once you let go off the leash, you can assist your dog by doing anything possible for the attacking dog to back off.

3. Always Have a Dog Whistle

A dog whistle can be the key to you saving your dog’s life against a dog attack or your dog being mauled to death by the attacking dog. Dogs can hear frequencies of a higher range compared to human ears. Dogs can typically detect sounds between 67-45,000 Hz, while humans can detect sounds between 64-23,000. In the upper frequencies of a dog's hearing range, the sounds can cause a dog irritation and discomfort. If your dog is being attacked and you have a high-frequency dog whistle, chances are you can stop or break up this attack by blowing this whistle. You will cause some discomfort for your own dog, but you may have just saved your dog’s life.

4. Pick Up Your Dog and Run to a Safe Area

If you can see the danger approaching (meaning dog(s) running towards you), you should pick up your dog before the impending danger reaches you. Secure yourself and your dog in a safe area such as a restaurant, a store, or even in someone’s yard. I wouldn’t advise you to try and pick up the dog while it is being attacked if you fear for your own self being attacked.

5. Get Help

If your dog is being attacked by another dog, shout for help and get as many people as possible to help you. Recruit several persons who are not afraid of dogs to form a tight circle around the animals. What this helps to do is limit the space for movement of the dog doing the attack. It may prevent the dog from thrashing the small dog back and forth which does more damage than a bite. The back and forth thrashing can rip internal organs and break a lot of bones in your small dog. If there is a collar on the dog which is doing the attack, grab the collar and restrain the dog’s head movement.

6. Use Physical Force as a Last Resort

Don’t be afraid to hit the other dog doing the attack, especially if you see that your dog is on the brink of death because of a throat hold or anything else. Get whatever you can to hit the attacking dog until it releases your dog and runs away.

Take Your Dog to the Nearest Veterinarian Immediately

After the melee, take your pet to the nearest veterinarian so the animal can be assessed for damages. There can be major injuries to the animal such as internal organ and tissue damage and broken limbs. Some dogs will require surgery to help correct injuries ascertained during the ordeal. After you rush your pet to the hospital, get in touch with the owner of the dog so that the right agreement will be made between both parties.

Assessing Your Dog's Well-Being After a Dog Attack

I have seen a small Shih-Tzu mauled by another neighbor's dog. They took the dog to the veterinarian to assess injuries. The dog had just a few bite marks and scrapes. The dog, however, went into a depressive state after the attack and simply never came back to being the spunky, happy little dog it was. The dog stopped eating, would lay around all day, and was in no mood to do anything.

They took the dog to the vet several times and to other vets outside of the community and didn't find anything physically wrong with the animal. The dog later died from what a dog psychiatrist called doggy depression. The dog's mind simply could not move past the ordeal and its mind began to shut down its body leading to death. You should monitor your dog after all physical healing.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2018 Clive Williams


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    • profile image


      7 months ago

      Yeah, right...There is no way I'd be jamming my finger behind a dog's molar & pushing his tongue down while he's in a fight. Thats just crazy!!!! I hope you still have your finger left!!

    • profile image


      10 months ago

      We’re currently on Vacation in the country, living in a house with a fairly large yard. There are three semi-stray (?) dogs here. (They live in the yard of someone’s house, but the yard is always open and they are often found running around and playing together in the streets). Those dogs are big, but my dog is just an eleven month old beagle. Would it be a safer option to just let him play in the yard with very minimum walking (like maybe thirty minutes a day), or would that make him sad? (He’s used to two/three hours of walking).

      So far we’ve been here for about five days and because of the heat he mainly sleeps during the day and only has some energy in the evening during which I take him on a 20-30 minute walk and he just walks around in the yard. Is this enough?

    • clivewilliams profile imageAUTHOR

      Clive Williams 

      11 months ago from Jamaica

      how did that turn out brian?

    • profile image


      11 months ago

      I had a loose, 40-50lb female attack my 100lb male GSD once. I thought of releasing him, but was more worried about the consequences for the other dog.

    • profile image

      Puppy lover 

      17 months ago

      Thank you for tips because I have a neighbor that has 2 dogs that their breed is best known for THE MOST DEADLY Dog the little one is nice but the big one was very nice bet than someone roobed him than they found him and when he came home he was agrissive and I was with my dog and he wanted to jump the fence so now I'm going to buy a dog wisle.

    • profile image

      Beach Bugs 

      21 months ago

      I think a lot of your suggestions are good. However, your statement,"In most of these dog attack cases, it is the large dog that attacks the smaller dog." is completely misconstrued. Being the owner of large dogs they get snipped at all the time by smaller dogs with the infamous" Napoleon complex"- my dog can be sniffing away and a little chihuahua comes in and starts harassing her. Just because a bigger dog defends themselves and wins- doesn't mean it started the fight.

      On another note I find it horrendous that someone would suggest breaking a dogs jaw- what an arrogantly conceited thing to say. If you want to unlock a dogs jaw that has another dog- ( and I have done this many times as a crisis animal rescuer,) you jam your finger behind their molars and press on their tongue- they automatically release. I can't imagine the amount of bicep strength it would take to pry a dogs locked jaw- seems ridiculous and anyone doing that is just showing off as opposed to using skills to solve a problem.

    • clivewilliams profile imageAUTHOR

      Clive Williams 

      2 years ago from Jamaica

      Well thats good Jenn. I hope it never happens either.

    • jennzie profile image


      2 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Great tips. I am both a dog mom and am also a professional dog walker. Luckily I have never had a dog get severely injured in my care, but I have had some issues at the park and had loose dogs run at us while walking so these tips are very good to know just in case.

    • clivewilliams profile imageAUTHOR

      Clive Williams 

      2 years ago from Jamaica

      Sorry you cant have a dog Ruby. I have two.

    • clivewilliams profile imageAUTHOR

      Clive Williams 

      2 years ago from Jamaica

      I totally agree with you billy. It's either your dog or their's

    • clivewilliams profile imageAUTHOR

      Clive Williams 

      2 years ago from Jamaica

      Thanks Frank

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      2 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Usable tips Clive. If only I could have a dog!!!! ( alergic ) I agree with Bill. Dog poop in my yard makes me an unhappy camper!!!!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It's amazing to me how many people in our town ignore the leash law and let their dogs run free on a walk. If one of them ever attacks our dog I will #1 seriously hurt the other dog and #2 sue the hell out of the owner of that dog. Laws serve a purpose and this law is for the protection of everyone.

    • profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      2 years ago

      hit the damn dog is right.. some of these are actually useful Clive

    • clivewilliams profile imageAUTHOR

      Clive Williams 

      2 years ago from Jamaica

      Hey Eric. You have to do what you have to do to save your dog's life. Even if it means breaking a jaw

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I can dig the dog whistle. Did you know that while a dog's jaw is many times stronger than any muscle in a man a man can still break the jaws of a dog by pulling them apart. I have seen it.

      I think in our neighbor hood you go straight to hell if your dog is lose.

    • clivewilliams profile imageAUTHOR

      Clive Williams 

      2 years ago from Jamaica

      That's true Doctor Mark. But some owners may not show strong character when they pick up the dog and the attacking dog can smell fear and may try to attack the owner. If they are confident enough to pick up the dog and stand their grounds. That's good.

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 

      2 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      I am the owner of large dogs and have seen this problem often. Your advice on avoiding the problem is good, the advice about picking up the dog and getting to a safe area is even better. I have seen some injuries (including the dog owner) when a dog is picked up but I have never seen a dog killed if he is in his owners arms.

    • clivewilliams profile imageAUTHOR

      Clive Williams 

      2 years ago from Jamaica

      Hi Louise Powles, My neighbors shih-tzu was mauled by a rottweiler and died the following day. The vet said her internal organs were damaged. Good, to hear of your dog. Keep her safe.

    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 

      2 years ago from Norfolk, England

      Thankfully my dog has never been attacked, but there's some good advice here, especially the dog whistle.


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