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Posted on 05-22-2014
The third week in May is Dog Bite Prevention Week. Every year an estimated 4.7 million Americans are bitten by dogs. Almost two-thirds of these victims are children. Many dog bites can be prevented by remembering the following tips:
1. Pay attention to the dog’s body language. Warning signs include a tensed body, stiff tail, pulled back head and/or ears, furrowed brow, eyes rolled so the whites are visible, flicking tongue, intense stare, backing away.
2. If you think the dog may attack, never turn your back to the dog, scream or run away. A dog’s natural instinct will be to chase and catch you. Remain motionless, hands at your sides and avoid eye contact with the dog.
3. If the dog does attack, “feed” it your jacket, purse, bicycle or anything that you can put between yourself and the dog. If you fall or are knocked to the ground, curl into a ball, protect your face, and remain motionless. Try not to scream or roll around.
If you are bitten by a dog, immediately wash the wound thoroughly with soap and water. Contact your physician and report the bite to your local animal care and control agency.
As a responsible dog owner there are several things you can do to lessen the chance that your dog might bite someone:
1. Always supervise your dogs when they are outside. Even if your dog is friendly, a child may wander into your yard or stick a hand through the fence.
2. Always supervise children when they are with a dog, even inside the house.
3. Obey leash laws, no matter how well your dog is behaved.
4. Keep your dog healthy and current on vaccinations.
5. Train your dog to obey commands and listen to you. A trained dog who respects its owner is less likely to bite a human.
6. To strengthen bonding and social skills, exercise and play with your dog regularly, however avoid aggressive games such as wrestling and tug of war which can lead to dominance issues.
7. Unless your dog is used for breeding, consider neutering. Neutered dogs are not as aggressive as other dogs.
8. Teach children to never approach a strange pet without asking the owner first. Supervise them and show them how to let the dog first smell them and then how to gently pet a dog. Let children know that it’s not okay to pull a dog’s ears or tail, or to pet a dog that is sleeping or eating.
Some of the above information comes from www.humanesociety.org
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