Dog Bite Prevention: 3 Things You Should Know

By Gabrielle Feldman

 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur in the U.S every single year. The majority of bites that occur are from dogs who are familiar with the person, not simply a dog who is a stranger. In addition, 51% of people bitten were 12 years of age and younger. As responsible pet owners, and to those who are parents to small children, it is important to take every preventative measure possible to avoid anyone from being harmed.

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Our dogs bring so much joy and happiness to our lives, but it’s easy to see that this a real issue in our country. Therefore, we have compiled a list of three things that everyone should know.

#1 Prevent YOUR Dog from Biting

Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that your dog will never try to bite someone. However, as a dog owner, there are precautions you should take that greatly reduces the risk.

·         SPAY or NEUTER: This procedure has many benefits for your dog’s health. In addition, it greatly reduces their desire to roam and arguably their desire to fight.

·         SOCIALIZE: This should ideally begin when your dog is young. Exposing them to as many people and situations possible will help them be comfortable in any environment, and startle less easily. For example: adults, other dogs, children of all ages, skateboards, bikes, cars, buses, escalators, wheelchairs, etc.

·         TRAIN: This is a great controlled environment for your dog to begin to socialize, as well as teaching them basic techniques to help you control their behavior.

 

#2 What to do if You are Attacked by a Dog

It is important to pay attention to the dog’s body language. If they are exhibiting any warning signs in their body language you should create a safe distance between you and the dog. However, it is important to resist the urge to turn your back and run away.

Image courtesy of the American Animal Hospital Association

What to do if you think a dog may attack:

  •        Remain motionless, hands at your side, and avoid eye contact.
  •        Once he loses interest, slowly back away until out of sight.
  •        If the dog does attack, “feed” him a purse, jacket, or anything that you can put in between you.
  •        If you end up on the ground, curl into a ball with your hands over your head.

 

#3 How to Approach a Dog (teach your kids too!)

  •          Always ask permission from the owner before approaching a dog. Particularly if the dog is tied up.
  •          Never attempt to pat a dog who is eating, sleeping, or that has a toy.      
  •          Do not approach face to face. Dogs generally do not like the idea of being “watched”- so do not look directly in the eyes.
  •          Let the dog approach you first. This will let the dog know that you are not a threat.·    
  •          Do not make threatening or fast movements.
  •          Pet the correct way: Do not pet on top of the head or over the head. Instead, approach from the bottom- pet under his chin, chest area, and sides.

 

Remember, any dog can bite, but knowing what to do can greatly reduce your risk of being injured. As good pet parents, we should also be diligent in our efforts to train, socialize, and spay/neuter our dogs. 

 

Articles You May Be Interested In:

Top Reasons to Spay or Neuter

FREE Guide to Dog Care

Dog Behavior: A Compassionate, Sensible, Effective Approach

 

Do you need to talk to a veterinarian? Contact us here!

 

Blog Image Credit: State Farm

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