My Dog Was Attacked By Another Dog

Just the other day my dog was attacked by another dog and I really had no idea what to do during the situation or in the aftermath.  It was a scary experience for both me and my black Labrador Retriever, Stetson who unfortunately did not escape the scene unscathed.  At first glance I didn’t notice the gash on Stetson tail, but after further inspection when we got home he was bleeding from one inch dog bite to the tail.

Dog Attacked My Dog

The day my dog was attacked by another dog was the same as any other day.  I was getting Stetson one last walk before I had to head out to my hockey game.  The sun just started setting…many a photographer would call this the golden hour…a perfect time to snap that perfect photo.  Unfortunately, things would be less than perfect for Stetson and I.

As we were heading back to the house we heard a scream: “Get back here!”  A few  seconds later a large long haired German Shepherd came speeding around the corner headed full speed towards Stetson and I.  At this point we couldn’t tell if the dog was ready to attack or play. Stetson thought he was in store for the latter, but unfortunately he was wrong.  The Shepherd wasn’t barking, just charging at full speed.

I positioned myself between Stetson and the German Shepherd hoping to keep the attacking dog from biting or hurting Stetson.  I could hear, but not see the owner (I didn’t take my eye off the Shepherd) telling me to be still because her dog would not bite if we didn’t run.    Stetson held ground directly behind me still thinking he was in for play time.  The Shepherd tried several times to nip at Stetson however, I was able to maneuver my body between the two combatants.  After a few seconds of jousting Stetson realized he might be in peril and decided that between fight and flight he would rather run away from the aggressive dog.

Eventually the owner caught up to her dog and Stetson started running home which is odd for him because he only runs during his sniffer dog training class and when there is food involved.  I never got a glimpse of the owner and hastily got Stetson back to the house.  Once we were back home I inspected Stetson head to tail and found slobber all over his butt and also came across one inch bleeding gash on his tail.  I rushed back outside to try and find the attacking dogs owner, but they had left the scene.  I rushed back home to Stetson who was hiding in the corner.  I cleaned up his wound and rushed him to the emergency veterinarian.

Our vet said we had two options.  First, we could leave things alone and put Stetson on antibiotics and the wound would most likely heal up on it’s own or we could shave down his tail and stitch it up.  However, she said stitching up the tail could cause more problems as the stitches often times break free because the skin on the tail is so tight and she recommended antibiotics and letting his tail heal on it’s own.

Labrador Retriever with Cone

So that was it.  We went ahead and put Stetson on antibiotics and let him sport the cone for a week.  Poor Stetson has to wear a cone on his head for a few days so he doesn’t chew on the dog bite inflicted on his tail :(

Unfortunately, I didn’t recognize the attacking dog and never really got a look at the owners face as I was trying to defend myself and Stetson, then we quickly fled the scene.  We asked our neighborhood friends if they knew the dog who bit Stetson, but unfortunately, we haven’t found the culprit.

What To Do When A Dog Attacks Your Dog

Now that the whole dog attack fiasco is over in hindsight there are probably several things I could have done differently to avoid Stetson’s dog bite to the tail.

  1. Bring something to keep a dog from attacking me or my dog – I ordered this Animal Deterrent Spray (aff link) in case we encounter another off leash, aggressive dog.  I’ll post a review about the product when it arrives in the mail.  Until then I’m going to carry around my Large Maglite (aff link) just in case.
  2. Be more aware of my surroundings – After hearing the owner screaming we had probably about 5 seconds before the German Shepherd rounded the corner.  That may have been enough time to get safely out of sight.  Next time we’ll be more aware and move quicker if something bad is about to unfold.
  3. Get the attacking dog owner’s information before leaving the scene – I didn’t think Stetson was bitten and didn’t know until we got home, but I should have been more on top of things and gotten the dog owner’s information before leaving the scene.  It would have been nice to know if the attacking dog was up to date on vaccinations including rabies.  Unfortunately it appears that we’ll never get that information.
  4. Report the incident to animal control – We didn’t initially report the incident to animal control because we couldn’t find the attacking dog owner, but after consulting others we think it’s prudent to let animal control know about the incident regardless.

Here are a few things that I think I did right considering the situation:

  1. I remained calm – I think this is part of the reason Stetson was so calm until he got bitten.
  2. I was able to block the attacking dog from getting to Stetson for the most part – Stetson didn’t help much because he thought it was play time I probably kept the Shepherd from biting him about 5 time before Stetson decided to try and avoid the other dog.
  3. Don’t Run – we learned a long time ago that dogs like to chase.  Stetson, Linus, Dublin, and I call it the chasing game.  If I chase the boys they run away from me.  If I run away from the boys they chase me.
  4. I tried giving commands to the dog – I tried “Sit”, “Down”, and “No”, but none worked.  I guess if the dog wasn’t going to listen to the owner then why listen to me…it was worth a shot…

So that’s our story.  Stetson got bitten by another dog, he was physically scarred, but more worrisome for me was his emotional scars.  Since then we’ve introduced him to several new dogs without any incident.  I guess he won’t hold a grudge on other dogs even after getting attacked.

Part of the reason why I’m putting this post together is to not only inform you, but to find out what you would of done if your dog was attacked by another dog?  Please let us know in the comment section below.


  1. James Stevens says

    I always thought I was prepared to fend off a dog attack. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but the pepper spray is not a good solution and, in my case, provided false confidence. I bought pepper spray in response to a dog attack in my neighborhood that killed a Chautauqua that lived next door to a untrained pit bull with six animal control complaints already on file. That dog was destroyed but six weeks later the neighbor right next door accidentally left the door unlatched and their full grown 40 lb “puppy” attacked my 14 lb terrier without notice or provocation. It shot out of the house, crossed the street, and attacked immediately on target. No chance to do any defensive actions as the dog hit like a targeted missile. It is a rescue dog which leads me to believe it had prior aggression training toward other dogs. I had the pepper spray in hand and ready but had no chance to even attempt to use it without risking my own dog. I confronted the owners who were very apologetic and nice people. After getting my rage out they aided me in checking over my dog which was frightened and bruised but had no visible bites. (I assume the dog hadn’t learned how to injure a victim yet, thank God.) I made them aware of their responsibility to control their animal regardless of circumstances. They said they are looking for a trainer but I have my doubts. Dog on dog attacks are considered property damage under the law so nothing will be done if I report it. A dog has to bite a human before any legal or punitive action will take place. Best to avoid areas known to have aggressive animals regardless of your own preparedness.

    • says

      Thanks for sharing your story. In my situation I saw the dog coming from probably about 30 yards out. I would have been able to use the pepper spray, but I wonder if it would have helped. I hope I never have to find out. I hope everything is okay with your dog mentally and physically.

  2. James Stevens says

    Note: Sorry for the spelling error. I used my search engine and obviously picked the wrong spelling for Chihuahua.

  3. Sinead says

    My dog was just attacked by a pitbull and we don’t have money to take her to the vet. She now seems in pain and is shaking. She has one puncture on her neck, which we cleaned with hydrogen peroxide. I’m not sure what to do now. I wonder if I should just take her to the vet and put it on my credit card.

    • James Stevens says

      I know it’s an old post but a vet should look at any puncture wound as there are lots of things that can go wrong. I’d try calling the humane society or other rescue organization. I’m sure they would provide some level of service or referral to get the dog some medical attention. Animal control may be another resource. Even your regular vet may be willing to work something out if notified in advance. I hope your pet came through the ordeal OK.

  4. Claudia Fisher says

    While taking a walk in a public park my little 7 lb poodle was viscously attacked by a Belgian Shepherd. I started a conversation with a woman who was in a wheel chair and asked her if it was safe to approach her. She said sure and then all of a sudden her dog raced around her chair, knocking her to the ground. This lady had no legs and was hurled down the knoll she was sitting on and rolled about six feet. Her dog raced over to my dog and picked her up in it’s mouth and started shaking her. Of course my dog was screaming, I kicked her dog to try to get it to drop my dog and it did. Everything happened so fast, I was also concerned for the lady’s condition who said her dog had never acted in that way before. My husband and I rushed to the emergency vet and the dog is still in ICU and will probably be in there for a total of a week. In the stress and excitement of the incident I forgot to ask the lady for her phone number. The vet bill will be a conservative $2000. At least my dog will make it and I have learned a hard lesson to never really trust any strange dog ever again.

  5. marsha says

    I totally agree w u. Keep your dog on a leash. Anytime I see someone w a dot and no leash while I’m w my dog I will ask them to put a leash on their dog. Same thing Hppened w my pup. I got him neutered and he still has some issues but don’t give up on him. Just be patient. Before he was neutered I would wake up to him fighting w my bullmastiff. Like I said now it is a rare. If I leave the house I just put my bullmastiff in a room. He responds to me when I sayin no in a formlow rumbling type voice. It has been a journey. Stressful. Don’t hesitate to yell at another dog if they r lose and or kick it to keep it away from your dog.

  6. marsha says

    Oh wow:( that sucks. When a dog comes at u, stand your ground, if u observe the situation and see that the dog is not responsive be ready to kick the dog or if u have a stick hit it hard. Hey its cruel but its either u or your dog. Pepper spray doesn’t always work on dogs. Worst comes to worst and the dog bites down shove your fist down the throat and gag it. My boyfriend was at petsmart and some guys large dog attacked a little dog, to break the bite he shoved his fist down the dogs throat and then hurled it on the grountrd. Some dogs u can shoo away other dogs u have to become violent with. Personally I see a loose dog I walk the other way or if I see it w its owner I ask the owner to leash it and if he or she refuses I remind them its against the law. I have witnessed my dogs in two fights and it sucks. Always be prepared and alert. Observe your surroundings. If all else fails make sure to take a stick and knife on your walk. I really hate that there r so many irresponsible owners out there. A few weeks ago my cousin took her pooch for a walk; next thing she knows a Pitt being walked on the other side of the street breaks free from the Guy walking it and kills her dog. Wtf? The dog was put down but the stupid college kid knew it was a problem dog let some other moron watch it while he was on vacation! Obviously the kid was too weak. Why wasn’t the dog on a prong and why didn’t it have a muzzle? He shouldn’t have walked the dog if he was too weak. What an idiot. Grrr.

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