Dog Bite | Animal Behavior Expert Witness For Attorneys

Richard H. Polsky, Ph.D. CDBC
Los Angeles, California

“Bringing the science of animal behavior to attorneys”

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Dental guards for dogs may prevent serious injury from dog bite attack

A novel approach to curtail injury caused by a dog bite was recently introduced in Sweeden:a doggy dental guard. The guard is similar to the dental  guards worn by people to prevent tooth grinding, and for dogs it is specifically designed to prevent a dog’s teeth from penetrating into the body of a person when it closes its mouth during an attack.

Critics claim that even if this proves true, it will not prevent injury due to the force of mouth closure, hence leading to blunt injury. Another problem is that some dogs will probably resist keeping a novel object like a dental guard in the mouth for any length of time. A Rottweiler fitted with a dental guard made of clear plastic is pictured below.

The dental guard is not for sale at the time of this writing, so evaluation cannot be determined. In the past, other dental manipulations have been tried with limited success, such as reducing the height of a canine teeth. This is a costly, complicated procedure which most owners are not willing to undertake, and it does not provide protection from blunt injury. Simply extracting the canine teeth is usually never done because it could result in serious dental complications. Other proven methods to lessen the chances of dog bite injury are more realistic; these include, muzzling when appropriate, neutering, early obedience and socialization training, owner education,and proper management of dog behavior. For a comprehensive listing of dog bite preventive measures, visit the dog bite prevention section of this website.


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