According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), each year more than 4.5 million people in the U.S. are bitten by dogs. One in five require medical attention (and of this group, roughly half are children).
No dogs are born aggressive biters, but poor training, lack of socialization, neglect, abuse, and other negative factors can turn them into one. In honor of National Dog Bite Prevention Week (May 19-25), Foothills Animal Shelter has shared these tips for making sure your dogs and children are safe and well-behaved:
1. Socialization in many different scenarios is beneficial for future interactions with people and your pet (in the park, with men/women/kids, with other animals, on a walk, etc.).
2. Taking your dog or puppy to a professional trainer is an excellent way to help socialize your canine around other people and animals. Additionally, they will learn what is expected of them and how to behave.
3. Be sure to have your pet current on their rabies vaccination (it’s the law and it protects your pet from possible wildlife interactions).
4. If your dog doesn’t do well in social settings, don’t place him/her in those situations. Use common sense and know your pet’s limitations.
5. Proper supervision with pets and kids is extremely important to remember. At minimum, a good rule of thumb is to keep any child under the age of 10 supervised with pets.
6. Teach your child not to go up to strange dogs. If your child is with you and you see a dog, you can teach them to always ask the guardian of a dog if they may be petted. There are some circumstances that it’s simply not wise, no matter what an guardian says (in a stressful environment, if a dog seems anxious, etc.).
For more information on dog bite statistics and prevention, visit the AVMA website.