National Dog Bite Prevention Week – Protect Your Child!
Next week, May 19th to the 25th, marks National Dog Bite Prevention Week. According to the Center for Disease Control, about 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year and approximately 885,000 of those bites require medical attention. Dog Bite Prevention Week is a public safety campaign to focus on safety tips and emphasize the need for increased pet owner responsibility in the prevention of dog bites.
Children are the number one victims of dog bites. Shockingly, the ASPCA reports that 50 percent of children in the United States will be bitten by a dog before their 12th birthday. Here are some tips to keep your child from being included in that statistic.
- Before bringing a dog into your home, learn about the breeds and determine what type will suit your family best.
- Spay/neuter your dog to reduce aggressive tendencies.
- Properly train and socialize your dog from the moment you meet him.
- Teach your dog appropriate, not aggressive, behavior. Don’t teach your dog to chase or attack, even if it is in fun.
- Seek guidance from a veterinarian or trainer immediately if your dog exhibits dangerous behavior.
- Make sure your child knows he should never pet a dog without permission from the owner, and even then, he should seek the dog’s permission first by letting the dog sniff his closed hand.
- Teach your child not to approach a loose dog, a chained dog, or a dog behind a fence. Be sure that children know to tell an adult immediately if a dog is roaming the neighborhood.
- Instruct your family members and those who enter your home to never disturb a dog while she’s sleeping, eating, chewing on a bone or toy, or caring for puppies.
- Never leave a young child unattended with a dog.
- Make your child aware that if she is ever approached by an unfamiliar dog, she should remain motionless. She should never scream or turn her back and run, which encourages a dog to chase.
As much as our dogs are a part of our family, I always remind my children that they are still animals and can be unpredictable. I wonder how many dog bite victims have heard the words “It’s okay – he doesn’t bite” before the dog has struck. We are just offering a few tips, but there is so much available to read to keep the threat of a dog bite away. Use Dog Bite Prevention Week to continue to be a responsible dog owner and parent!
written by Maria, “Mama Dingo”