Dog owners don’t like to think that their dog may attack or bite someone but, unfortunately, an estimated 4.7 million Americans are bitten by a dog each year. The third week in May is National Dog Bite Prevention Week. Use this opportunity to educate yourself and others about how to reduce the risk of being bitten.
I know people who have been bitten by dogs and were terrified of the animals for years afterward, even of the smallest dogs. Luckily, through education and awareness, most dog bites can be prevented. Both people who own pets and non-pet owners should be aware about dog bite prevention.
Do your research: consult with a professional about which breeds will fit best in your household.
Never leave children alone with your dog(s). You have probably heard news stories about newborn infants being attacked by the family pet. Well, children make up almost two-thirds of all dog bite victims.
Place a ‘Beware of Dog’ sign where everyone can see it. Even if your dog is friendly, this will alert people that there is a dog on the property. This is especially important if your dog does not like people he doesn’t know, or if you have a retired police dog or former attack dog.
Always supervise pets while outdoors. Keep an eye on both your pet and your children, and bring everyone inside when it’s time to go in. Even the friendliest of dogs can get upset by a stranger walking by.
Properly socialize your dog. She needs to become familiar with people and other animals from households other than yours. Also, teach her to obey your commands.
Always obey leash laws. It doesn’t matter how well-behaved your dog is.
Spay or neuter your dog. This will greatly decrease the chances of her or him biting someone.
Seek professional advice if your dog shows aggressive or undesirable behaviors. This may be from a veterinarian, a responsible dog breeder, or an animal behaviorist.
Teach your children to always ask the owner before petting a strange dog. If you are threatened by a dog: don’t make eye contact, don’t run, and don’t scream. And, if the dog attacks, fall to the ground and curl up in a ball. Finally, if bitten, immediately report the incident to the owner or the police.
National Dog Bite Prevention Week may only occur once a year, but it’s important to practice these safety tips all year long.
Sources:Dog Bite Prevention,CDC – Dog Bite Prevention