How To Handle A Fearful Animal

August 21, 2014

It is important to be aware of signs of fear and aggression when handling a fearful dog or cat. They may attack with very little warning; however, you can help avoid personal injury by paying attention to the animal’s body language and any sounds they may be making. Growling or hissing can be an animal’s way of warning you to back off.
Physical signs of fear for animals may include:
• Ears pulled back and down against their head
• Eyes wide open and avoiding eye contact
• Licking lips or yawning
• Crouching or huddling close to the ground to appear smaller
• Puffing hair out on their back or tail to seem larger
• Tucking tail between their legs
Physical signs of an aggressive cat or dog may include:
• Pointing ears directly toward you or the object of their aggression
• Staring you down with their eyes
• Baring their teeth
• Stiffening their body and standing straight to appear bigger
• For dogs, the flagging of the tail is a sign of aggression, but be careful not to mistake this as a friendly wag
• Holding their tails straight down and back is a sign of aggression for cats
Play it safe and exercise caution. Always be aware that any animal may attack without making any sounds or showing any physical signs before striking.

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