According to the ASPCA, every year more than 4.5 million people in the United States are bitten by man’s best friend, and more than half of dog bite victims are children. This year, National Dog Bite Prevention Week 2019 is April 7-13, and in honor of it, we’re discussing dog bite prevention and responsible pet ownership.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) estimates there to be 78 million dogs in the U.S. Most of those dogs are nice dogs, but unfortunately any dog can bite, especially when they are eating, sleeping, protecting their property, or caring for puppies.
In many cases, dogs bite because of how they are raised. If they are mistreated or not properly socialized, out of fear and insecurity, dogs can be aggressive toward people and bite or attack. When a dog does bite, he or she can be abandoned or euthanized, so it’s important for dog owners to be responsible and for people to become educated on dog bite prevention.
Preventing Dog Bites
- Always get the owner’s permission before petting a strange dog.
- Do not try to pet a dog who is behind a fence and protecting their property.
- Do not pet a dog that is in the back of a truck or inside someone’s parked vehicle.
- Do not approach an injured dog. Instead, find an adult who can help get the dog medical attention.
- Never approach a dog that is eating or sleeping.
- Never approach a dog who is caring for her puppies.
- Never tease, hit, poke, or pull a dog.
- Do not pet a dog that is barking at you or has their tail under their legs.
For Dog Owners
- If you get a puppy, make sure it is socialized early on so it is relaxed around people.
- To socialize a puppy with other dogs, have the puppy around other dogs from a young age.
- Never leave your dog alone around a baby or a small child, even if it’s the family dog that you’ve had for years.
- Do not let children play with your dog unsupervised. They should always be monitored to ensure the safety of your children and your dog.
- Never let children abuse or mistreat a dog. Make sure they learn how to treat dogs with love and respect.
- Do not let your dog be in a position where he or she feels threatened.
- Never let your dog run freely in the neighborhood.
- When you leave your home, always have your dog on a leash so you can maintain control.
- Make sure your dog receives regular veterinary care. Why? Because, if a dog is sick or injured, he or she is more likely to bite.
- If someone tries to approach your dog, tell them to wait and let your dog sniff the person and get comfortable before allowing the person to pet the dog.
Dogs can be the best companions. They provide us with love, support, comfort, and protection. But it’s up to people to properly socialize dogs so they do not grow up to be dangerous animals. By following these safety tips, we can protect our families, ourselves, and our dogs from the serious consequences of biting someone.