April 10th marks the start of Dog Bite Prevention Week. This is a really important topic! Data from the CDC shows there are about 4.5 million dog bites in the US every year. That works out to about 1 out of every 73 people! Many of these bites could have been avoided, so this is one area where an ounce of prevention is worth several pounds of cure. In this post, a local vet talks about some ways to prevent dog bites.
Never Pet A Strange Dog Without Asking
Honestly, this one is just plain common sense. It’s not only dangerous, it’s also just bad etiquette! Granted, children may not understand this is unsafe, so be sure to talk to them, and explain. And don’t just ask for permission to pet Fido: make sure he’s friendly.
Let Fido Sniff Your Hand
This is considered the universal way to say ‘hello’ to a dog. However, there are some caveats here. Don’t shove your hand out too fast or too close to his face and never reach over Fido’s head. Greet the pup in a friendly voice as you are doing this.
Supervise Children And Dog
Never leave young ones alone with a dog! Some dogs get uneasy around children, simply because children are often, by nature, a little loud and excitable. And some dogs are quite reactive. Kids can also unknowingly agitate dogs, whether by running towards them, making unexpected movements, or pulling their tails.Also remember to be careful with toys, especially stuffed animals. Fido may be very interested in a child’s plushie, or vice versa. That could definitely set the stage for an unfriendly tug of war.
Don’t Provoke Fido
Did you know that dogs consider staring to be a sign of aggression? While your own pet probably won’t mind if you look at him, you should never look a strange dog in the eye. Hugging Fido is also a huge no-no, as are growling at him or barking.
Understand Doggy Body Language
You may have heard people say that dogs ‘ attack without warning,’ but that’s usually not the case. Dogs usually give off plenty of warnings: it’s just that people don’t know how to read them. We all know that bared teeth and growls, but those aren’t the only signals Fido gives off. Panned ears, slow tail wags, stiffness, and tucked tails are also red flags.
Do you have questions about your pet’s health or care? Contact us, your local animal clinic in West Greenwich, RI, today!