National Dog Bite Prevention Week
70 million nice dogsâ¦but any dog can bite
National Dog Bite Prevention Week takes place during the third full week of May each year, and focuses on educating people about preventing dog bites.
With an estimated population of 70 million dogs living in U.S. households, millions of people â most of them children â are bitten by dogs every year. The majority of these bites, if not all, are preventable.
Take this opportunity to learn more about dog bite prevention and help educate others so we can all work together to prevent dog bites.
Dog bite facts:
Each year, more than 4.5 million people in the U.S. are bitten by dogs.
Almost 1 in 5 people bitten by dogs require medical attention.
Every year, more than 800,000 Americans receive medical attention for dog bites; at least half of them are children.
Children are, by far, the most common victims of dog bites and are far more likely to be severely injured.
Most dog bites affecting young children occur during everyday activities and while interacting with familiar dogs.
Senior citizens are the second most common dog bite victims.
There are many things you can do to avoid dog bites, ranging from properly training and socializing your pet to educating your children on how – or if – they should approach a dog. Information and education are the best solutions for this public health crisis.
Dog bite prevention: responsible dog ownership
Responsible pet ownership builds a solid foundation for dog bite prevention. Some basics of responsible dog ownership and dog bite prevention include:
â¢ Carefully select your dog. Puppies should not be obtained on impulse.
â¢ Make sure your pet is socialized as a young puppy so it feels at ease around people and other animals.
â¢ Don’t put your dog in a position where it feels threatened or teased.
â¢ Train your dog. The basic commands “sit,” “stay,” “no,” and “come” help dogs understand what is expected of them and can be incorporated into fun activities that build a bond of trust between pets and people.
â¢ Walk and exercise your dog regularly to keep it healthy and provide mental stimulation.
â¢ Avoid highly excitable games like wrestling or tug-of-war.
â¢ Use a leash in public to ensure you are able to control your dog and to show others that you are in control of your dog.
â¢ Keep your dog healthy. Have your dog vaccinated against rabies and preventable infectious diseases. Parasite control and veterinary care are also important because how your dog feels affects how it behaves.
â¢ Neuter or spay your dog.
â¢ If you have a fenced yard, make sure the gates and fence are secure.
Teaching Children How to Prevent Dog Bites
When you’re teaching children about dog bite prevention and how to be safe around dogs, keep it simple. Discuss animals, how we relate to them, and the role of animals in your family, not just how to avoid being bitten. If you have younger children, always supervise them around dogs and be mindful of how the child interacts with the dog so they learn to be gentle from the beginning.
Some easy tips that you can use to help kids understand the importance of respecting dogs and avoiding bites:
â¢ Avoid unknown dogs. If you see a dog you donât know and itâs wandering around loose and unsupervised, avoid the dog and consider leaving the area. Consider alerting animal control.â¢ Avoid unknown dogs. If you see a dog you donât know and itâs wandering around loose and unsupervised, avoid the dog and consider leaving the area. Consider alerting animal control.
â¢ When Forex the owner is with their dog, always ask the owner for permission to pet their dog. Donât ever pet a dog without asking first — even if itâs a dog you know, or a dog thatâs seemed friendly toward you before.
â¢ Teach children to confidently, quietly walk away if theyâre confronted by an aggressive dog. Instruct them to stand still if a dog goes after them, then take a defensive position. It often helps to tell them to âbe a tree:â stand quietly, with their hands low and clasped in front of them, remain still and keep their head down as if looking at their feet. If they are knocked down, teach them to cover their head and neck with their arms and curl into a ball.
â¢ Teach children to avoid escalating the situation by yelling, running, hitting or making sudden movements toward the dog.
â¢ Teach children that if a dog goes to bed or to his/her crate, donât bother them. Enforce the idea that the bed or crate is the dogâs space to be left alone. A dog needs a comfortable, safe place where the child never goes. If youâre using a crate, it should be covered with a blanket and be near a family area, such as in your living room or another area of your home where the family frequently spends time. Do not isolate your dog or his/her crate, or you may accidentally encourage bad behavior.
â¢ Educate children at a level they can understand. Donât expect young children to be able to accurately read a dogsâ body language. Instead, focus on gentle behavior and that dogs have likes and dislikes and help them develop understanding of dog behavior as they grow older.
â¢ Teach children that the dog has to want to play with them and when the dog leaves, he leaves — heâll return for more play if he feels like it. This is a simple way to allow kids to be able to tell when a dog wants to play and when he doesnât.
â¢ Teach kids never to tease dogs by taking their toys, food or treats, or by pretending to hit or kick.
â¢ Teach kids to never pull a dogâs ears or tail, climb on or try to ride dogs.
â¢ Keep dogs out of infantsâ and young childrenâs rooms unless there is direct and constant supervision.
â¢ As a parent, report stray dogs or dogs that frequently get loose in your neighborhood.
â¢ Tell children to leave the dog alone when itâs asleep or eating.
â¢ Sometimes, especially with smaller dogs, some children might try to drag the dog around. Donât let them do this. Also discourage them from trying to dress up the dog — some dogs just donât like to be dressed up.
â¢ Donât give kids too much responsibility for pets too early — they just may not be ready. Always supervise and check on pet care responsibilities given to children to ensure they are carried out
â¢ Remember: if you get your kids a pet, youâre getting yourself a pet, too.
All of the information gathered here was taken from the American Veterinary Medical Association – Dog Bite Prevention website. The AVMA has teamed up the American Academy of Pediatrics and the United States Postal Service to educate the public about the importance of responsible pet ownership and dog bite prevention. Please visit their website for more information.