There are over 85 million dogs kept as pets in this country. Dogs provide their owners with love and companionship, and they’re a wonderful addition to many households.
It’s important to remember that dogs are animals that may react violently in certain situations. But there are several things we can do to help prevent dogs from biting people. That’s why April 9 through April 15 has been declared National Dog Bite Prevention Week.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVNA) is partnering with other organizations and Animal Planet’s Victoria Stillwell to educate dog owners and others on the best ways to eliminate dog bites.
What Dog Owners Can Do
According to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), more than four and a half million people are bitten by dogs every year, and over 800,000 people receive medical attention for dog bites.
The way you treat your dog and how it’s trained are the most important factors when it comes to preventing dog bites. Be gentle with your dog, never abuse it, and make sure it’s healthy by taking it to the vet for regular checkups.
It’s important to use positive training techniques. Be assertive and make sure your pet knows that you’re in charge. You may want to consult with a professional dog trainer, and you can also seek out books, pamphlets, videos, and other resources that promote the best dog training methods.
The following practices will help keep your dog from harming others:
- Teach puppies to socialize with people from an early age.
- Always interact with your dog in a friendly way.
- Give your dog lots of attention.
- Use positive reinforcement when training a dog.
- Never physically abuse your dog.
- Don’t leave your dog alone or tied up for long periods of time.
- Feed your dog regularly.
- Provide opportunities for your dog to interact with other dogs.
- Post warning signs if your dog is left in the yard.
- See the vet right away if your dog is in pain.
- Keep dogs inside when the mail carrier visits your home.
- Spay and neuter your dog.
How to Protect Your Family from Dog Bites
More than half of dog bite victims are children. That’s why it’s crucial to teach your child to never approach a stray dog or one that’s left unattended. Tell your child to always get your permission and the owner’s permission before touching any dog. Remind your child that a dog is not a person, and there are special rules for how to handle them.
If you see a stray dog in your neighborhood, contact animal control right away. Here are some tips for preventing dog bites:
- Don’t interrupt a dog when it’s eating, playing, or sleeping.
- Avoid any unattended dog.
- Never try to take a toy away from a dog.
- Don’t poke, grab, pinch, or hug a dog.
- Never grab a dog’s tail.
- Don’t leave a child alone with a dog.
- Never intervene when dogs are fighting.
- Back away slowly from a menacing dog.
- Don’t scream at a dog.
- Avoid eye contact with a threatening dog.
- If a dog attacks, protect yourself using an object such as a backpack or bicycle.
What to Do After a Dog Bite
It’s very distressing to witness a dog bite, especially when the victim is someone you love. Try to stay calm and administer first aid to the victim. If there’s any bleeding, bruising, or swelling, seek medical attention right away.
Follow all your doctor’s instructions to ensure the best recovery. You can use your cell phone camera to take pictures of the wounds. Report the incident to animal control and contact a dog bite attorney right away.
California is a strict liability state when it comes to dog bites. That means the dog’s owner will be liable for the injuries that you or a loved one has suffered. The average personal injury claim for a dog bite is over $50,000.
Was Your Loved One Bitten by a Dog?
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