Did you know that it's National Dog Bite Prevention Week? We didn't either! But...if ever there was a good reason for a week dedicated to awareness of something, we think preventing dog bites is infinitely worthy. We'll look at a few different aspects of dog biting throughout the week. Our first installment? The basics of dog bite prevention.
We work with all kinds of dogs and have seen it all - fearful dogs, aggressive dogs and just plain lovely dogs. What breaks our hearts most about all the news headlines that focus on the bite victims and not what led up to the bite incident is that it doesn't provide a chance for the public to truly understand how easy it is to avoid dog bites with a few simple tips.
These tips from the American Veterinary Medical Association are easy to follow and demonstrate how important it is to be sure your children are aware of how best to interact with dogs so they remain safe:
Dog Owners - Managing Your Own Dog
- Carefully select your pet. Puppies should not be obtained on impulse.
- Make sure your pet is socialized as a young puppy so it feels at ease around people and other animals.
- Don't put your dog in a position where it feels threatened or teased.
- 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.
- Walk and exercise your dog regularly to keep it healthy and provide mental stimulation.
- Avoid highly excitable games like wrestling or tug-of-war.
- Use a leash in public to ensure you are able to control your dog.
- Keep your dog healthy. Have your dog vaccinated against rabies and preventable infectious diseases. Parasite control and other health care are important because how your dog feels affects how it behaves.
- Neuter your pet.
- If you have a fenced yard, make sure the gates are secure.
Strange Dogs - Managing the Situation
- Be cautious around strange dogs, and treat your own pet with respect. Because children are the most common victims of dog bites, parents and caregivers should:
- NEVER leave a baby or small child alone with a dog.
- Be alert for potentially dangerous situations.
- Teach their children – including toddlers – to be careful around pets. Children must learn not to approach strange dogs or try to pet dogs through fences. Teach children to ask permission from the dog's owner before petting the dog.
The AVMA provides a range of other resources about dog bites, prevention & treatment so do check out their site and their links for more information.
Tomorrow we'll take a look at the reasons why dogs bite so following the tips above will be even easier!