April 10th is the start of Dog Bite Prevention Week. This is a really important topic! According to the CDC, an estimated 4.5 million dog bites in the US every year. That works out to about 1 out of every 73 people! Many of these bites could have been avoided, so this is one area where an ounce of prevention is worth several pounds of cure. A local vet goes over some ways to prevent dog bites below.
Never Pet A Strange Dog Without Asking
Honestly, this one really should be common sense. It’s not just bad etiquette, but it’s downright dangerous! Of course, children may not understand why this is unsafe, so it’s important to talk to them, and explain. And don’t just ask for permission to pet Fido: make sure he’s friendly before you do.
Let Fido Sniff Your Hand
This is considered the universal way to say ‘hello’ to a dog. There are some caveats here, however. Don’t shove your hand out too quickly or too close to his face, and never reach over Fido’s head. Greet the pup in a friendly voice when you do this.
Supervise Children And Dogs
Never leave young ones alone with a dog! Some dogs are quite reactive. And some dogs get uneasy around children, simply because children are often a little excitable and loud. Kids can also unknowingly agitate dogs, whether by making unexpected movements, running towards them, or pulling their tails.You’ll also need to be careful with toys, particularly stuffed animals. Fido may be very interested in a child’s plushie, or vice versa. That could really set the stage for a conflict.
Don’t Provoke Fido
Did you know that, for dogs, staring is a sign of aggression? Your own pet probably won’t mind if you look at him, but you should never look a strange dog in the eye. Hugging Fido is also a huge no-no, as are growling or barking at him.
Understand Doggy Body Language
You may have heard people say that dogs ‘ attack without warning.’ However, that’s usually not true. Dogs usually give off plenty of warnings: it’s just that people don’t know how to read them. We all know that growls and bared teeth are bad, but those aren’t the only signals Fido gives off. Tucked tails, stillness, slow tail wags, and pinned ears are also red flags.
Do you have questions about your pet’s health or care? Contact us, your local animal clinic, today!