Dogs are everywhere.
Not like a plague of locusts that descend on Earth to devour a country’s crops; dogs are everywhere in our culture, and for good reason. Man’s best friend can be trained to provide support for someone that, well, needs support. Canines can help the blind cross a busy intersection, as well as help our hallowed members of the military recuperate from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Some dog breeds can even detect the onset of an epileptic seizure.
Dogs bring a lot to the table, including the potential to drive one or more of their teeth into our skin.
Dog bites present a relatively common and often serious risk to American society. An average of nearly 4.5 million residents of the United States knows what it is like to have Fido bite them, with a quarter of the bite victims requiring some form of medical care. Around 50 percent of those bitten by a dog are younger than 18 years old.
Let’s see how we can make man’s best friend even more friendly by knowing how to prevent dog bites.
Know What It Takes
Whether you raise a puppy or take in an elderly foster, you have to assume responsibility for a dog’s behavior. This means taking ownership of caring for your new canine friend. Carefully choosing the right dog for your living arrangement is a good start, followed by spaying or neutering your dog. Most canines also require considerable training and plenty of daily exercise.
Let’s Get Social
Dogs are social animals, but unfortunately, some dogs never get to interact much with any form of life, furry or not furry. The result is a dog that is unaccustomed to interacting with people or animals. Introduce your canine companion to the important people in your life, especially if the important people consist of children that frequently let their curiosity get the best of them.
Know How to Approach a Dog
Dogs love routine, which means when a stranger approaches, a dog has lost its routine compass. The reaction to a stranger can range from a dog-wagging frenzy to the displaying of sharp incisors. Knowing how to prevent dog bites goes well beyond the responsibilities of a dog owner.
It also includes people knowing how to approach a dog that they have never encountered before.
Do Not Roll the Dice
Our first quick reaction to coming across a dog we have never seen before is typically “Aw, isn’t she cute.” Well, cute does not cut it when a dog cuts you with its teeth.
Here are a few tips on how to avoid risky interactions with a dog:
- Leave a dog alone when it is eating
- Growling and barking can mean “Back off”
- Dogs are like us when it comes to sleep (“Leave me alone”)
- Sick and injured dogs bite out of fear
- A dog by itself is a dog without an island (Not with its owner)
- Mother dogs are very protective of their pups
Avoiding risky interactions with dogs goes a long way towards preventing a dog bite.
How to Keep Children Safe
Despite the commercial that shows a friendly dog greeting a sick child at a hospital, dogs can be uncomfortable around children. The primary reason for this is most kids do not know how to interact with canines. From sudden movements that startle a dog to overly aggressive children that do not know when to back off, dogs can react in a physically inappropriate manner when interacting with kids.
Whether you are with a child or you want to educate your kids about how to interact with canines, the following tips should help prevent a dog from biting children.
- Never approach a dog that barks or growls
- Do not pet unfamiliar dogs unless the owner gives permission
- Do not pet a dog that is on the other side of a fence
- Stay away from canines that are not on a leash
- Do not pull on a dog’s coat
- Leave a dog alone that is eating, sleeping, or playing with a toy
There is no cure when it comes to dog bites. Once someone becomes a victim of a dog bite, the damage has been done. Dog bites can trigger a wide variety of medical issues, some of which can be life-threatening. Although Madison Avenue likes to place dogs in commercials to produce the “Aw, shucks” buying factor, the fact remains and will remain until the end of time that domesticated dogs pose a potentially serious threat to our health.
Do the right things, and you should have mastered the class called “How to prevent dog bites.”