know dog abused

How to Know Your Dog is Being Abused

(Last Updated On: June 17, 2019)

It’s very sad that some dogs are abused and neglected. We don’t like thinking about it, although finding out if your dog is being abused is always important so as to take care of your dog. While it’s can be difficult to know when your dog is being abused, this article will list some of the things you’re supposed to check.

Types of Abuse and Neglect

 Abuse may be on many forms such as;

  • A young child who carelessly handles a pet.
  • Someone beating up your dog when he or she is having a bad or stressful day.
  • A drunk person with a violent temper acting out.
  • When the owners have too many that they neglect some dogs.
  • In homes with domestic violence because their abuser targets also the pets.

How to know your dog is being abused?

1. Food Issues

Some of the question you should ask yourself as the owner are;

  • Is your dog territorial around food?
  • Does it not enjoy the food?
  • Does it eat or divide it carefully like it has no idea when or where to get the next meal?

All these signs and others means your dog is being abused with less food.

2. Physical Scars

This is a great way to know if your dog is being abuse. In case your dog has physical scars, there is a high possibility that your dog is being abused. This is especially when there are many scars and they all look similar in shape or size.  

3. Avoidance

If your dog avoids people or acts nervous around people or other dogs, then that may be a clear indication that the dog has experienced abuse. Trying to remove itself from the situation when you are around humans can be a sign that an abuse has happened before and that’s why it is keeping away from people.

Although an avoidance of dogs can signify something else, sometimes it can signify that your dog has been in a violent situation with other dogs for example, dog fighting. This can’t necessarily be the case, but in case you notice in extreme and persistent behaviours, it is worth taking caution.

4. Being extremely Submissive

We as dog owners want our dogs to submit to us during training, but when your dog is submitting too much, that might be a sign of possible abuse. A dog that urinates or drops things on the floor on a regular basis is a likely indication that he has had to submit a lot in its life. Dogs use this as a defence mechanism in order to deal with extreme dominance of an aggressive person or another dog.

5. Aggressiveness

Some dogs are naturally a bit aggressive and others it originates from something which is why it is important the aggression needs to be worked on in order to figure out where the aggression comes from.

If your dog’s aggression is targeted on a specific thing for example, a specific type of person or an animal, it is most likely that they have been abused by them in the past. Most of abused dogs tend to have fear or even dislike people. The problem is that dogs don’t know the difference between the past abusers and other people.

6. Anxiety

A lot of dogs breeds always have anxiety which they get because of different sorts of reasons. This may be one of the possible reasons why your dog is showing persistent anxiety where your dog is unsettled in the house

7. Obsessive/Self-Soothing Behaviours

Dogs have their own way of dealing with their feelings for example obsessively licking themselves. These mechanisms aren’t the best for them because they don’t relieve them from stress, fear or any pain they are experiencing. There are a number of reasons why dog’s show this kind of self-soothing behaviour, but, when it happens frequently, especially during certain situations, it might be a sign of past abuse.

Other possible signs of abuse may include;

  • Limping.
  • Unexplained fractures.
  • Tail tucked in.
  • Avoiding all eye contact.
  • Ears back.
  • Excessive panting.
  • Crying or barking when approached.
  • Attempting to attack when approached.
  • Abnormal loss of fur or changes in the texture of its fur.
  • Avoiding physical contacts.
  • Scratching when petted.

What Can Dog Owners Do?

Here are some of the precautions pet owners should take;

  1. If your dog is showing any of the above signs, you should contact your veterinarian for help. It is always important to have your dog checked if there is any injury or any other signs of abuse.
  2. In case you suspect that someone has been abusing your dog, you need to respond according to the circumstance. For example, if a little child is abusing a dog by mishandling it out of ignorance, then, you should help them understand how to handle and interact with a dog. If an adult is hurting the dog as a way of coping with his or her feelings or sometimes as a way of coping up with his/ her abuse, then, you should seek professional assistance.  
  3. If abuse is still happening even after you warn the parties, then, it may be necessary to reach out to the police. It can be difficult reporting an animal abuse because you may be the only one advocating for that animal.
  4. You should not leave the pets with the victims of domestic violence especially the abuser. Look for different safe alternatives before you can leave your dog with your dog


We often think of dog abuse as something gross for example, when the dog is beaten, neglected, chained or used in dog fights. We tend to forget about the other signs of dog abuse that happen in our homes more often than we can think about.

This article explains some of the possible signs of abuse and therefore, it is in your dog’s best interest to check this article and see if anything clicks. Without knowing what to look for in a dog, you can miss the signs that show your pet is being abused at home.

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