Preventing Dog Bites
Did you know that an estimated 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year. Over 800,000 bites result in needing medical attention and half of these cases happen to children. Although we view dogs as members of our family and want to love on them as much as possible, it is important to remember that dogs speak a different language than us, and need to be treated differently. What we (or especially children) might do to show our love may not be as reciprocal from our furry friends. By understanding why dogs bite and learning to read your pet, you can keep your family and furry friends safe and happy!
Why Do Dogs Bite?
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, any dog regardless of their age, sex, breed or personality has the potential to bite if provoked. Dogs may bite as a reactionary impulse to feeling stressed, scared, defenseless, or sick. Socialization (especially during the puppy stages!) is a good way to help prevent dog bites. Acclimating dogs to various stimuli, people, and environments will condition them to feel more comfortable in different situations.
Learn to Read Your Dog
A dog’s body language is very telling and can be used to signal stress or fear. Some of these cues may surprise you:
What NOT To Do
Here are some tips to keep yourself and kids safe around dogs:
- Do not leave infants, toddlers, and young children alone with any dog, no matter how friendly it is.
- Never approach an unknown dog or a dog that is alone without an owner, and always ask for permission before petting the dog.
- Never approach a dog that is eating, sleeping or nursing puppies.
- Do not poke, hit, pull, pinch or tease a dog.
- Do not allow your children to put their faces next to a dog’s face.
- Do not reach to remove food, toys, or any other objects from a dog’s mouth or space.
- You can also read a more in-depth review of keeping the peace at home with kids and pets on our blog, here.
For more information, read this article – 10 Questions to Help You Prevent Dog Bites.
If you suspect your pet has underlying behavioral issues that is causing him/her to act out, we encourage you to contact our Behavioral Veterinarian, Dr. Leslie Sinn. You can learn more about Dr. Sinn’s services and how to schedule an appointment with her at our practice on our website.