Studies Reveal Pandemic to Blame for a Sudden Rise in Dog Bites

Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic

The recent COVID-19 pandemic affected us all in various ways, but what about our pets? Did they feel its effects too? Recent research suggests that it might be so. According to multiple studies, it would seem that the pandemic caused a  dramatic surge in dog bites, some of them quite serious. 

No one is really sure what is the link between the pandemic and the rise of dog bites. Experts can only speculate and suggest that reasons could be multifold. For example, it is possible that this behavior is a result of a massive wave of pet adoptions. Many families, which previously never had pets, chose to adopt a dog during the pandemic. What is more, the lockdowns caused them to stay at home and work from home, which meant their dogs aren’t really used to being on their own. As a result, there are a lot of grown dogs that haven’t had any real obedience or basic training, haven’t been socialized around other dogs (or people), and often have  anxiety issues

In fact, the upsurge of dog bites could have been so dramatic, that the White House had to investigate. The official studies originated from the White House, where it has been reported that multiple Secret Service officers were bitten by Commander, the presidential German Shepherd. The situation got worse, as Major, another dog from the Biden presidential family, had to be evicted from the White House premises because of biting incidents. 

And the incidents did not stop there. Dogs turned on other dogs as well. Of course, fights between dogs tend to happen, but these were out of the ordinary. In New York’s Upper East Side, there has been a considerable rise in dog-on-dog fights. A previously well-behaved German Shepherd, Syko, reportedly mauled a toy poodle in broad daylight. Reasons for such behavior – unknown.

As a result of a  5-year nationwide study, researchers wrote that the upsurge in bites is “likely to be associated with stay-at-home orders, bringing dogs and children together for longer periods of time and perhaps in closer quarters. It is alarming to note that the spike of incidence of dog bites has peaked, yet persisted, even as states continue to slowly relax social restrictions.”

With all that being said, the upsurge has been dramatic. The new societal conditions, and the lockdowns that affected us all, certainly caused dogs to behave oddly too. And as if that wasn’t enough, another possible reason is climate change – rising heat levels could be affecting dogs, causing rising aggression.

In the end, remember to always exercise caution when you spot potentially  aggressive dogs, especially if you are walking your own pet. Stay alert, recognize dog body language, and maintain a safe distance. And if your dog has been acting strangely lately, make sure to contact an expert dog trainer that could help you work on your pet’s behavioral issues in a positive, productive manner. 

Angela Vuckovic
Angela Vuckovic

A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.

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