This week has been designated as Dog Bite Prevention Week, with the aim of making people more aware of how they can keep themselves from getting bitten and how they can reduce the chance their dog will bite someone. Here are some tips from the American Veterinary Medicine Association:
Socialization is a good way to help prevent your dog from biting. Socializing your pet helps your dog feel at ease in different situations. By introducing your dog to people and other animals while it’s a puppy, it feels more comfortable in different situations as it gets older. It’s also important to use a leash in public to make sure that you are able to control your dog.
Responsible Pet Ownership
Responsible pet ownership builds a solid foundation for dog bite prevention. Basics of responsible dog ownership that can help reduce the risk of dog bites include carefully selecting the dog that’s right for your family, proper training, regular exercise, and neutering or spaying your pet.
Educate yourself and your children about how – or whether – to approach a dog.
Avoid Risky Situations
It’s important to know how to avoid escalating risky situations and to understand when you should and should not interact with dogs. You should avoid petting a dog in these scenarios:
If the dog is not with its owner
If the dog is with its owner but the owner does not give permission to pet the dog
If the dog is on the other side of a fence – don’t reach through or over a fence to pet a dog
If a dog is sleeping or eating
If a dog is sick or injured
If a dog is resting with her puppies or seems very protective of her puppies and anxious about your presence
If a dog is playing with a toy
If a dog is growling or barking
If a dog appears to be hiding or seeking time alone
Pay Attention to Body Language
Reading a dog’s body language also can be helpful. Just like people, dogs rely on body gestures, postures and vocalizations to express themselves and communicate. While we can’t always read a dog’s body language accurately, it can give us helpful clues as to whether a dog is feeling stressed, frightened, or threatened.
There are about 70 million dogs in this country and one in five people will be bitten in their lifetime. Take the time to learn about dog safety so you will not be the one.
Until next time,
Good day, and good dog!