Dog Safety Tips: Preventing Dog Bites
From G'Day Pet Care
Each year, 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs-and nearly half of these are young children bitten by the family dog. Approximately 800,000 dog-related injuries require treatment in a hospital due to bites as well as sprains and strains caused by actions to avoid dog aggression. Dog-related injuries in the U.S. resulted in 31 deaths in 2011 alone.
Dog Safety Tips for Parents
- Never leave a young child or baby alone with any dog.
- Never allow a child to discipline a dog.
- Never allow a child to feed or walk a dog unsupervised.
- Never allow a child to pull on a dog's collar, ears or tail.
- Never allow a child to play aggressive games (like wrestling) with any dog.
- Never allow a child to pet a dog that is in someone else's vehicle.
Just as children are taught how to safely cross a street, parents should teach their children how to act around dogs, including the family dog. Here are some tips to teach your kids to help them stay safe:
- Do not yank your hands away if a dog "mouths" your hands. Stay very still until the dog leaves you alone.
- Don't put your arms around a dog to hug him. This could be frightening to the dog, and his reaction could be to nip or bite you.
- If your ball goes over the fence to where a dog lives, ask the homeowner to get the ball for you.
- If a dog growls, barks, chases or runs at you, don't turn and run. Stand as still as a tree and cross your hands in front of your body until the dog goes away. Don't stare into the dog's eyes.
- If a dog chases you while you are riding your bike, stop and put your bike between you and the dog. Then stand very still until the dog goes away.
- If you are knocked to the ground by a dog, roll into a ball, cover your face with your arms, and stay as still as possible until the dog leaves.
- If there is a strange dog that has made you afraid, or has tried to bite or attack people, tell an adult right away.
A stray dog - or any dog you don't know - can present real danger to you if he is injured or feels you present a threat. Follow these tips to stay safe from stray dogs:
- Never approach a stray dog. Strays are usually hungry, thirsty, sometimes injured - and almost always frightened. Even with your knowledge of or love for dogs, steer clear of a stray.
- Stay aware of your surroundings, even if you are familiar with the area. Have your cell phone with you so you can call for help if needed.
- If you see a stray dog approaching from a distance, look for a secure place you can go to stay safe. Step inside a fenced area, enter a place of business, or knock on a neighbor's door.
- Carry food as a distraction. Because strays are almost always hungry, the food will likely divert the dog's attention away from you so you can retreat to safety. Throw small bits of the food farther and farther away from you so the dog stays focused on the food. Small kibbles work especially well as the dog will forage to find every morsel.
- Don't turn and run - dogs naturally love to chase and catch things.
- Stand still, with your hands clasped together in front of you. In most cases, the dog will go away when it determines you are not a threat.
- Face the dog at all times, but don't stare. Avoid eye contact.
- Don't put your hand out-just allow the dog to approach you to sniff you.
- Don't scream. If you say anything, speak calmly and firmly.
- When possible, back away slowly, watching the dog from the corner of your eye, until the dog is out of sight.
- If a dog knocks you down, don't try to get up and run. Roll into a ball. Cover your face and head with your arms, pull your knees up to chest, and stay as still as possible until the dog leaves.
Keeping Safety a Priority
While pets of all types bring us love and happiness and can fill us with a sense of wonder, it pays to take steps to keep our families safe from accidental harm or injury from pets. Common sense and a little know-how will help ensure you, your family and your pets live together safely and happily.