Dog Bite Prevention

The week of May 17 – 23 is National Dog Bite Prevention Week.  Each year, more than 4.5 million people in the US are bitten by dogs and approx. 12 people are killed each year as a result of dog bites.  1 in 5 of those bites requires medical attention which equates into 800,000 victims which nearly half are children.  Children are the most common dog bite victims and are more likely to be severely injured.  Senior citizens follow children as the second most common victims of dog bites.  We at want to share some dog bite prevention tips:

  • Any dog can bite at any time. Most people are bitten by either their own dog, or one that they know.
  • Never leave a small child, or baby alone with a dog.
  • Teach children to be careful and respectful when around pets. Instruct them not to approach strange dogs and ask the owner for permission prior to petting.
  • Do not run past a dog. Dog’s natural instinct is to chase and catch things.
  • Do not disturb a dog eating, sleeping or caring for puppies.
  • Do not reach through or over a fence to pet a dog. Dogs can be protective of their territory and might interpret your action as a threat.
  • Stay still if a dog approaches to sniff you. In most cases, the dog will go away once it determines you are not a threat.
  • Remain calm if you are threatened by a dog. Don’t scream or yell.  If you say anything, speak calmly and firmly.  Avoid eye contact.  Try to stay still until the dog leaves, or back away slowly until the dog is out of sight.  Don’t turn and run.
  • Curl into a ball if you fall or knocked to the ground. Protect your face by placing your hands over your face and neck.

If you are bitten:

  • If your own dog bit you: Confine it immediately and call your veterinarian to check your dog’s vaccination records.  Consult with your veterinarian about your dog’s aggressive action.  Your veterinarian can examine your dog to make sure your dog is healthy, and can help you with information or training that may prevent more bites.
  • If someone else’s dog bites you: first seek medical treatment for your wound. Next, contact the authorities and tell them everything you can about the dog: owner’s name, description of the dog, where it was encountered and where and when you have seen the dog before.  These details will help animal control officers locate the dog.  In addition, consider asking your physician if post-exposure rabies prophylaxis is necessary.

You can obtain additional information by logging onto American Veterinary Medical Association.

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