Preventing Dog Bites
Preventing dog bites is an important issue for dog owners. Every year more than 800000 people visit hospitals to receive treatment for dog bites. This is just a small proportion of the more than 4 million people that get bitten. Unfortunately approximately 50 percent of those bitten are children.
Pet owners and parents should try to understand the possible reasons for dogs biting children. Most dog bites are from dogs the children are familiar with. They can often be as a result of a child unknowingly provoking the dog. Sometimes a child will upset the dog by pulling its fur or tail but can also occur when a dog is sick or injured.
Having a dog in a family is a benefit for all family members. However, it is essential to avoid situations which could lead to an attack.
It is difficult to teach a young child, particularly if they are under 4, rules to follow when handling the family pet. It has been suggested by some that a dog should not be introduced into a family until the children have reached school age.
Children that are school age or older can be taught techniques that will avoid negative experiences with dogs. These include:
Staying away from dogs they don’t know.
Do not run away from dogs
Make sure there is adult supervision when playing with a dog
If a dog is eating or sleeping leave it alone
Stay clear of dogs that are looking after puppies
Before touching a dog let it sniff you.
A recent post on the Sit Stay Blog explains the SAFE program to help in preventing dog bites. They introduce their article:
Children can be rambunctious and loud. Their high-energy levels may be misunderstood by a dog they don't know -- and even one they may know. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AMVA), more than 4.5 million people in the United States are bitten by dogs every year. Almost 1 in 5 people require medical attention, and by far, the most common victims of dog bites are children. In many cases, these incidents could be prevented with better education for children and their parents.
The entire article which includes a downloadable infographic can be seen here