May 18 – 23 is National Dog Bite Prevention Week. The Center for Disease Control estimates that 4.7 million people are bitten each year. In about half of the cases serious enough to warrant medical attention, the victim is a child.
What can you do to prevent dog bites?
- Never approach an unfamiliar dog.
- Don’t pet a dog without permission.
- Report loose dogs to the proper authorities.
- Stand still if an unfamiliar dog approaches you. If you run, the dog will chase you and may knock you down. If the dog does knock you down, roll into a tight ball & put your hands over your ears.
- Avoid direct eye contact with dogs – they see it as an attempt to dominate them.
- If a dog tries to attack you, “feed” it something else – a book, an umbrella, or your jacket.
- Don’t disturb a dog who is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.
If you are bitten, wash the wound with soap and water immediately. If the bite breaks the skin, seek medical attention. Report all dog bites to the health department or animal control office so the dog can be quarantined until the danger of your catching rabies has passed.
If you own a dog, have him/her neutered or spayed – hard to believe, but this actually reduces aggression. Take your dog to obedience classes and make sure he obeys your basic commands. Don’t chain your dog, if possible – this increases aggression. If your dog has bitten before or is aggressive, don’t let him be around people without a muzzle!
Working together, we can all reduce the risk of another child having to face life permanently scarred.
Until next time,
Good day, and good dog!