This week is National Dog Bite Prevention Week. It is very important to help educate not only dog owners but non dog owners on how to prevent a dog bite. An average of 45 million people are bitten by dogs a year. 800,000 Americans receive medical attention for those bites. There are a number of things we can do to help lower these numbers.
1. Properly training your dog goes a long way. Making sure your pet can understand and complete basic commands, like sit, stay and come.
2. Socializing your pet is important to enable them to feel comfortable in different situations. It’s essential to get them used to the common types of people, dogs, sights, sounds and physical handling and grooming that will be a sure part of their daily life. This does not mean that you should not be aware of your dog’s body language at all times when you are in public.
3. Don’t put your dog in a position where he or she might feel threatened or teased. Again your dog’s body language will give you clues as to how he or she is feeling.
4. Use a leash in public. This does not mean that you should let your dog pull his extension leash to its maximum length while you are deep in a conversation unaware of his actions.
5. Pay attention to your dog. Puppies and dogs that are ignored, tied up or not exercised tend to turn into biters.
6. Spay and neuter your dog.
7. Don’t approach, touch, or try to play with a dog that is sleeping or eating. Teach this to your kids too.
8. Educate your children on how to approach a dog. Kids get bitten on the face most often when trying to give hugs and kisses. It is safe to show love with a scratch on the chest or side of the neck. Remember if it is not your dog, ask permission of the owner first.
9. Teach your child not to approach a dog they do not know that is off a leash. Tell them to find an adult immediately. In the same regards, don’t approach a dog that is tethered or confined. Always ask an adult.
10. If you are threatened by a dog, don’t scream, avoid eye contact and back away slowly.
This is not all that can be done, but is is a good start. The best thing you can do for you, your dog, and everyone else is to properly care, train and love them.