“Don’t touch him while he’s eating!” Parents tell kids this every day when they bend down to pet a family pet during evening chow. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs each year – half of those are children. Most of these dogs are household pets that hog the covers and eat out of your hands. Each year, during the third week of May, National Dog Bit Prevention Week rolls around to remind owners that, “even nice dogs can bite.” Here is what the AVMA and USPS want you to know
1. Dogs bite for a number of reasons, including:
- They are scared.
- They’ve been startled..
- They feel threatened.
- They are protecting something valuable to them.
- They are not feeling well.
2. Socialize your dog as a puppy. As your puppy grows, slowly introduce them to new places, people, and situations. This will allow your dog to become comfortable in many situations and may avoid future anxiety and possible bites.
3. Get your dog neutered. Studies show that neutered pets are less aggressive and, therefore, less likely to bite.
4. Pay attention to how your dog reacts. Notice when your dog shows signs of being tense or anxious. Certain people, smells, or even colors can cause reactions in dogs. Each dog is different. When you see your dog become agitated you can remove them before something happens.
5. Teach children to ask permission before petting a dog. Children should not be taught to wrestle or act aggressively with pets.
6. Do not leave small children alone with dogs. Parents are encouraged not to bring a dog into a home with children less than four years of age.
7. Don’t run past a dog. Staying calm, standing still, and avoiding eye contact will allow the dog time to decide that you are not a threat.
8. AVMA reported more instances of dog bites than measles, whooping cough, and mumps combined.
9. In South Carolina, the United States Postal Service released a statement claiming, “that South Carolina Postal employees are experiencing a high rate of dog bite incidents for the year, at 22 occurrences in 2013 already.
10. According to USPS, the cities with the highest dog bites on Postal workers are Los Angeles, San Antonio, Seattle, Chicago, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Detroit, St. Louis, Baltimore, Sacramento, Houston, Minneapolis, Cleveland, Dayton, Buffalo, Brooklyn, Denver, Dallas, Tacoma, and Wichita.
For more information on how you can educate yourself, and your children, visit preventthebite.org, visit the American Veterinary Medical Association Facebook page or follow them on twitter.