It was a day like most others when you met up with your friend and their pets. The dogs were enjoying themselves, playing on their own. Suddenly they approached you as a group. One seemed a little aggressive, jumping up. Normally, that wouldn’t amount to much, but since you were caught off-guard, it resulted in you falling over.

For one reason or another the dogs took this as a sign to jump all over you. As you attempted to get up, they became more aggressive, and you quickly realized the danger you were in. Before your friend could remove the dogs, you suffered serious bites to your forearms.

This is, sadly, not as uncommon as you might think. However, there are explanations for why dogs may act this way.

1. Illness

Illness is the first reason an animal might lash out unexpectedly. For instance, if your dog has an injured leg, it may growl and bite if someone attempts to touch it. A dog dealing with dehydration may become confused and bite out of surprise or fear.

2. Heat

Heat is another possible cause of dog attacks. When dogs get overheated, there is a possibility for irritation and aggression as they struggle to cool down. Some may become agitated, confused or aggressive as a result of heat stroke or heat exhaustion.

3. Irritation

Simply irritating a dog could make it snap at you. For instance, if you pet a dog and it backs away, you shouldn’t go after it. It wants space, and trying to get into its space may feel threatening or irritate it.

4. Pack mentality

Sometimes, dogs attack because of influences from other pets. For example, when multiple dogs get together, it might not initially be the dog you know that becomes aggressive. However, if one attacks, others might join in.

5. Fear

Finally, fear is a significant cause of bites. Pets that can’t get away from you may feel that they only have the option to bite or snap at you. Essentially, it’s telling you to back off and leave it alone. Most bites that occur out of fear are preventable. All you need to do is to look for signs that the dog is uncomfortable, like the dog raising its lips or growling.

These are five common reasons that dogs lash out. Regardless of the reason, you have a right to seek medical treatment and compensation from the owner of the pet. Owners are held liable for injuries that their dogs cause.