Dog Bite Prevention Tips

Dog baring teeth

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Last week was National Dog Bite Prevention Week. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, more than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year, and unfortunately, children are the most common victims. Properly training and socializing your dog, in addition to teaching children when and how to appropriately interact with dogs, are essential steps for dog bite prevention.

10 Dog Bite Prevention Tips
  1. Don’t pet unknown animals
  2. Don’t approach dogs quickly
  3. Don’t tease with food
  4. Pay attention to body language, such as ears back, cowering over
  5. Pet gently
  6. Never leave small children unattended with animals, even if they are family pets
  7. Don’t try to pull toys away
  8. Don’t intervene in a dog fight
  9. Don’t enter yards with barking dogs
  10. Don’t roughhouse with unfamiliar animals, even if you are playing and have good intentions

Do you know what you should do if you encounter a loose dog? By standing still, avoiding eye contact, and slowly backing away once the dog disengages, you can de-escalate a situation with a dog off-leash. Remember: be a tree. Running away can trigger a dog’s chase instinct.Children are more likely to encounter dogs off-leash when they are playing outside. Teach them these tips. Never allow a child to pet a dog through a fence or without the owner’s permission.

A nervous dog being pet

Greeting a dog who’s nervous (this is not good).

As a responsible pet owner, it is your job to keep your dog safe when meeting new people. Some people are unaware of the proper way to greet a dog. Don’t hesitate to let someone know if they are doing something that makes your dog uncomfortable. Think about when you meet a new person: if they are loud, boisterous, or in your personal space, it may make you nervous and wary of them. Dogs are the same way. They need space and time to get to know someone new.

Pay attention to the dog’s body language to tell if he’s comfortable meeting the new person. A dog who is hunched down, looking away, and licking his lips may be telling you that he’d rather keep more personal distance. A dog who seems relaxed and leaning forward may be eager to make a new friend. If a dog snaps or growls, back away immediately. We want the dog to learn that people will respect their displays of discomfort, and they don’t have to resort to more intense forms like biting. If the dog appears uncomfortable, nervous, or a situation is escalating, allow the dog an escape and remove them from the situation.

What if all of this dog bite prevention fails? Even friendly dogs can bite if they are scared and in an unfamiliar environment. 

What To Do if Your Dog Bites Someone
  1. Stay calm. Be sure the dog is safely contained so another bite doesn’t occur.
  2. If the victim’s skin is broken, have someone use First Aid to treat the wound(s). Depending on the severity of the injuries, a trip to an urgent care facility or emergency room may be needed. This should be at the victim’s discretion. Get the name and contact information of the victim.
  3. Collect your dog’s vaccination records, including proof of Rabies. If you don’t have these documents handy, contact your veterinarian’s office to obtain. Rabies licenses must be renewed annually by law in Orleans and Jefferson parishes.
  4. Be prepared to speak with a police or animal control officer about the incident. All animal bite cases treated by medical facilities are reported to authorities.

A dog bite situation can be stressful for everyone involved, including your dog. Be sure to take the time to evaluate why the dog bit and how the situation can be avoided in the future. Speak with your veterinarian or a professional dog trainer about your dog’s behavior. They can help you develop a plan for dog bite prevention in the future. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

If we can help you with any additional information about dog bite prevention, please give us a call!

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