It can be the most innocent of things – like you just wanting to move your dog from off of the couch. Did you know that one of the most common dog bites to people in the home happens from an action like this? In this episode of Raising Your Paws Podcast – Episode 53, find out how being more mindful about your dogs needs and how they view you, their leader, can make a big difference in preventing your dog from biting someone – the thing most of us think our dog would never do but in reality can happen.
Raising Your Paws Podcast Episode 53
Full Show Notes.
Does your cat bring you dead mice it kills or various rodent body parts? I’ll explain the current theory for why cats do this and the best way to react. It’s probably not what you think.
Then, if you are like many other dog owners, you don’t like to think that your dog could ever bite someone. The reality is that any dog – no matter the breed, can bite and injure someone. My guest, Melissa Berryman, is a dog bite prevention expert, creator of the People Training for Good Dogs dog handling program, and author of the book by the same title. In today’s episode, she talks about how we can take more responsibility for preventing dog bite injuries by better understanding our dog’s point of view and needs and expectations of us, and shares some of the innocent human actions that cause some of the most common bites.
Plus, in the special feature, “Where Did That Expression Come From?” we’ll take on the phrase, “barking up the wrong tree” and then how one of America’s most popular foods, a sandwich eaten by the billions each year, got its name.
Congratulations to Ann from Woodburn, Oregon for winning a free large bag of NutriSource dog food. She did so, by being randomly selected from those that sent in a question about their pets that they wanted covered in the podcast. Her question, that we answered, was about why cats leave “gifts” of dead mice for her family. You can be selected as well and receive a free bag of pet food. Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave your question in the comment section below.
Additional Resources for the show.
Source for story about why cats leave dead mice and how to react. Why Does My Cat Do That? By Catherine Davidson.
Amazon link to order the book “People Training for Good Dogs: what breeders don’t tell you and trainers don’t teach.” By Melissa Berryman.
Source for Stories about where hot dogs got their name. National Hot Dog and Sausage Council Website
Blog Article: Why You Need To Take A Cat Bite Seriously.
If you get bitten by your cat, either through those play sessions that get a bit rough, or if you pick up your cat to separate them when fighting with another cat, the bite might not look like much at first and so you may play the injury down and forget about it. We tend to worry much more and pay closer attention to the possibility of dog bites as the wounds tend to be larger and can look so much worse. However, you’ll want to take any cat bites seriously and watch for unusual reactions especially if they are to your hand, wrist or forearms. Why?
Because cat bites can lead to infections. It’s not that a cat has more germs in their mouths than dogs, it’s the design and nature of their teeth that can inject hard-to-treat bacteria into your tissues. In comparison, dog’s teeth are more blunt and generally don’t penetrate down as deeply into the skin.
Even if your cat’s teeth are tiny and the bite mark is no more than a little pin prick, it can cause problems. Dr. Brian Carlsen, a Mayo Clinic plastic surgeon and orthopedic hand surgeon, relates that “Cat’s teeth are sharp and can penetrate very deeply. The bacteria gets into the tendon sheath or into the joint where they can grow with relative protection from the blood and immune system.”
And this is what puts you at risk, for a serious infection. With cat bites, it is best to seek medical attention.
Take the story of my father, who was checking in on my cat Willie, one afternoon while I was out of town a number of years ago. He had stopped by at the apartment, to feed, and play with Willie. My cat could be a tad unpredictable – lashing out and biting when you least expected it – to even those he loved the best. Like my father who had cradled the teeny kitten when he was just a few weeks old, nestling him in the warmth of his neck. (Listen to Willie’s story – explains why my dad and I became the only mother he had. Podcast episode 30 – segment about socializing cats.)
So while visiting with Willie, in my home that day, my dad reached out to play or pat him and got rewarded for his affection with a bite to his hand. The bite stung – my dad’s feelings, mostly, but he washed it out and returned home. A few hours later my dad’s hand became red and swollen. When red streaks began radiating out from the hand, running up the length of his arm, my Mom and Dad figured there was probably something seriously wrong. They went to the hospital emergency room. Due to the seriousness of the infection at that point, he was admitted to the hospital and started on intravenous antibiotics.
This was quite a surprise to my father and very upsetting to me, when I heard the news over the phone – still being out of town. I felt so bad that my cat had put my father in the hospital. Who knew that a little cat bite could cause so much trouble? Fortunately, all was well by the next day after the medicine cleared up the infection.
My dad still loved Willie but, was somewhat more cautious around him after that experience.
Not all cat bites require hospitalization as it did with my father. People that have been bitten have seen their regular physicians when they could get appointments quickly, or more routinely visit the emergency rooms. Treatments can include oral antibiotics – but if they don’t knock out the infection, then intravenous antibiotics may be required. In some extreme cases patients have needed surgery to clean the wound or remove infected tissue. Research has shown in a majority of cases, if the cat bites were located directly over a person’s wrist or another joint instead of in soft tissue, these were the ones more likely to need hospitalization.
As you can tell, cat bites can be serious business – especially if you develop inflamed skin and swelling – you’ll need to seek medical attention immediately, so the wound can be treated aggressively. Play it safe and don’t wait until your hand and arm have long red stripes, like my father did.