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Sudden Violence in Dogs May Stem From Pain

Written by PETA | June 28, 2012

Is the normally docile Fido suddenly starting to act hostile when you handle him? A new study may explain why: Dogs may become more aggressive when they’re in pain.


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The researchers looked at dogs who had abruptly attacked their guardians and discovered that, in each case, the aggressive behavior was caused by pain. Many of the dogs were suffering from the onset of hip dysplasia, an often-crippling disease common in many purebred dogs. (Thanks for nothing, breeders!)

A number of factors—including continuous chaining or crating—can cause dogs to become aggressive. But if Fido suddenly turns fierce when you touch him, an immediate trip to the veterinarian is in order—for your sake and his.

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  • wendy says:

    My sister’s doberman began agressive behavior periodically. Then full blown attacks. FINALLY they took him to the vet and ha had an ear infection. Treatment helped for awhile but then the aggression began again. Instead of spending the time (yes and money) to find out the origin, they put him to sleep. Now that’s not my first choice and if he was in pain, they at least he’s not anymore but I was glad to read your post about pain being an issue.

  • Kathleen Kennedy says:

    This is such good advice, because most people handle their animals without ANY regard for their feelings…they always think…”Well, if I feel like “running” let me take my dog or if I feel like “whatever” I’ll take my dog…and then if the dog is not immediately “happy” about the decision then the “human” becomes annoyed…We as people need to slow down and realize that our dogs are not always in the mood to do what we want them to do.

  • Toby says:

    Tooth ache with dogs is, presumably, a big problem… hopefully one day a dog who doesn’t get his or her teeth brushed or get taken to dentist ever will be a widely understood as a sign of neglect in the same way we recognise that in children.

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