Our dogs are our best friends, but unfortunately, we know that incidents involving dog bites are not uncommon. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, more than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs in the U.S. each year.
May 19-25 is National Dog Bite Prevention Week, so we’d like to take this opportunity to go over some ways that you can prevent dog bites in your home and in your community.
“The absolute best way to avoid having a dog that bites a person or another dog is to ensure he or she is well socialized as a puppy,” says Dr. Pamela Reid, Vice President of the ASPCA’s Anti-Cruelty Behavior Team. “Puppies go through a period from about 6-16 weeks during which they are very impressionable and, if they have good experiences with people and dogs, are likely to grow up as confident, relaxed, friendly members of society. If the dog is integrated as a member of the family, he or she continues to meet people and maintain good social skills.”
Sadly, children are often the victims of dog bites. There are several steps you can take to teach your child the proper way to interact with dogs in order to prevent dog bites. Here are three important tips to keep in mind:
1. Make sure that your children do not tease or go near dogs behind fences or dogs chained in yards.
2. If your child sees a dog that is loose, teach him or her to report it to an adult immediately and to avoid touching or going near the dog.
3. If a loose dog approaches your child, tell him or her not to run or scream. It is best to stand very still like a tree in this scenario.
To participate further in National Dog Bite Prevention Week, please visit our full list of dog bite prevention tips and spread awareness on Twitter by using the hashtag #PreventDogBites.