Are stray dogs dangerous?

Victims of a bad reputation, stray dogs are seen by society as dangerous and aggressive animals. Yet cases of assault are rare and often depend on the behavior of men to their contention.

The international press has been reporting for several years on cases of bites and attacks by stray dogs in certain countries. If this type of accident happens occasionally, Antoine Bouvresse, behavioral veterinarian in the Paris region, would like to remind you that “In the vast majority of cases, stray dogs will tend to manage their distance well from humans. They are generally much more suited to roaming than a house dog who has run away from home would be.” This canine health specialist recognizes that “The wandering situation of the animal will realize it less with the human. These dogs are not used to being handled and approached by humans, which can lead to aggressive reactions out of fear of humans if they are too invasive.

More and more dogs


If metropolitan France has very few stray dogs, other countries seem overwhelmed by the number of individuals present in cities and countryside. These animals, condemned to live on the streets after being abandoned by their owners, reproduce, and their population increases considerably. For Antoine Bouvresse, the first solution to solve this multiplication of puppy litters is “to have a birth control policy for both stray animals and pets, through sterilization or gonadectomy, he recommends. Then, a trapping system must be put in place to recover these animals, but not all countries make this choice”.


For some, these animals are a godsend, as they help clean up cities. “Stray dogs are the best garbage collectors in the world. They take care of the household refuse, litter, droppings and harmful species,” explains the practitioner.

Have the right reaction to the animal

A stray animal will not necessarily have the reflex to attack for no reason. The dog does not always understand the gestures of humans and can easily be frightened if approached too closely. For Antoine Bouvresse, “The fear reaction in the stray dog ​​will cause, in the majority of cases, flight. It is only when he does not have the possibility of fleeing that he can behave aggressively. This does not make them fearful or aggressive dogs.


The gestures and attitude of humans with these animals have a direct impact on their behavior. This is why the advising practitioner, in the event of a confrontation with a stray dog ​​showing signs of aggression, “to remain still and not to make any sudden gesture towards the animal. In the event that the human has attempted an approach, it is advisable to back up, without running and without making hasty movements”.

If bitten…


For the veterinarian, the good reflex to have after being bitten by a stray dog ​​is “To go to a hospital as soon as possible. Health professionals will assess the damage of the bite. Even if it is a small bite, it must be cleaned and disinfected. The biggest risk is infection, before even the mechanical damage of the bite. The person will be put on the pretext and it will also be necessary to check the rabies status of the animal and the person bitten”. However, the risk of infection with the rabies virus remains low in our country. “France is a rabies-free country, but there is a certain prevalence of the virus in many countries. Rabies is a 100% fatal disease that kills in just a few weeks. explains the veterinarian. According to the Public Health France website (, only 42 dogs and 3 cats have been infected with rabies in France since 1968.

The editorial staff advises you: I found a stray dog, what should I do?

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