Dog Bite Prevention
Even the most sociable dogs will lash out at people if they are antagonized. Some owners actually encourage their dogs to be aggressive as a sign of power. In the US alone, there are between 500,000 and 1 million dog bite cases per year in which the victim needs medical attention. However, there are incalculable amounts that are not filed and go untreated. Approximately 12 people die annually from wounds caused by dog bites.
More than three-fifths of dog bite victims are children. According to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an astonishing 50 percent of children 12 and under have suffered a dog bite. Senior citizens and people with occupations in which home visits are required (e.g., mailmen, meter readers) often get bitten as well.
How dog owners can prevent bites
Dog owners have a responsibility to treat and train their dogs properly so that they are not prone to attacking people. Here are some tips to help owners keep their dogs in line:
Consult with the experts before and after choosing your dog. If you have any questions during the selection process or after picking your dog, always ask a veterinarian; they will offer the best advice in terms of behavior and suitability.
Socialize your dog when it is young and impressionable. This will allow your dog to feel comfortable around people and other pets. Gradually immerse your puppy into diverse situations that you have control over, and continue this exposure as the dog matures. If you are uncertain how the dog may respond to a crowded area or highly-trafficked street, use your best judgment. You should avoid putting your dog in a predicament where it feels intimidated or taunted.
Train your dog. Standard commands such as “sit,” “stay,” “no,” and “come” can be built into entertaining activities used to promote respect and trust amongst dogs and their owners. Avoid roughhousing or playing combative games like tug-of-war.
Maintain your dog’s well-being. Take your dog to the vet to receive the appropriate vaccinations for rabies and other infectious diseases. A healthy dog will feel and behave better.
Neuter your dog. It has been well-documented that neutered canines are not as aggressive and therefore, less likely to bite. Do what’s responsible; license your dog, and abide by the leash laws within the community. Dogs are instinctively social, so giving them the attention they crave is important. Dogs that are often left alone are more likely to behave inappropriately.
Be attentive to your dog’s needs. You obviously would be aware of an instance where your dog is sick, but you should also keep an eye out for signals alerting you that the dog is anxious or agitated.
How to avoid being bitten:
- Be careful around dogs acting peculiar.
- Treat your own dog the same way you’d want to be treated.
- Prepare yourself for potentially hazardous events.
- Educate children on the importance of treating pets with respect.
- Children should know not to approach pets that they are unfamiliar with. They should also be taught to ask a dog owner for consent to pet their dog.
- Avoid running near a dog. They love to chase and fetch things, and this will only stimulate their excitement.
- Do not bother a dog that is caring for its offspring, sleeping, or eating.
- If a dog wanders towards you and begins to sniff, stay still. In most instances, the dog will leave after it realizes you mean no harm.
- If you feel that a dog has bad intentions, stay calm. Don’t yell, and if you talk at all, speak firmly and keep your composure. Try not to look into the dog’s eyes. Stay still until the dog becomes disinterested, or gradually retreat until the dog is far away. Never turn and run in the opposite direction.
- If you are being attacked and trip or get knocked on the ground, curl up into a ball, and tuck your head into your knees to keep your face protected