Prevention: What people can do to prevent dog bites
Dog Bite Prevention Week is May 20-26, 2012. Understanding the basics about dog behavior is important for preventing dog bites. Read this informative piece from Kelly Gorman Dunbar about hugging a dog, or rather why you respect your dog's doggie-ness. Before having a dog, consider one who is the right mix for your lifestyle. A dog's age, breed(s), coat, health, and energy level will all impact your life together.
During National Dog Bite Prevention Week, the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Veterinary Medical Association and the US Postal Service team up to educate Americans about dog safety. Here is some important prevention information from the AVMA:
What's a dog owner to do?
- 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 execrcise 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.
How can you protect your family?
- 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.