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Tips for preventing dog bites

Dog Bite PreventionWe wish this was a topic that did not need addressing, however dog bites are still an all too frequent occurrence. Dog bites that require medical attention occur about 800,000 times annually, with children being the most frequent victims- and this doesn't count the ones that go unreported.

So what are you, as pet owners, to do? Here are some tips from the AVMA to help keep you and your family safe:
  • Research your dog breeds to help find the best fit for you and your family.
  • Make sure you socialize your puppy and introduce him to multiple situations in a controlled setting to increase his comfort level.
  • Consider waiting to get a dog until your children are over 4 years old, if possible.
  • Train your dog for the commands sit, stay, no, and come.
  • Spay or neuter your dog as this has been shown to decrease biting.
  • Be responsible: license your dog, obey leash laws, and make sure gates are secure if your yard is fenced in.
  • Be cautious around unknown dogs.
  • Never leave a baby or small child unsupervised with a dog.
  • Teach children to be careful around pets and to never approach a strange dog without permission from you and the dog's owner.
  • Don't run past a dog.
  • Do not disturb a dog that is eating, sleeping, or caring for puppies.
  • Never reach through a fence to pet a dog, this could be seen as threatening.
  • Stay still if a dog approaches to sniff you, they will usually leave when it determines you are not a threat.
  • If you are threatened by a dog, stay calm. Do not raise your voice, instead speak calmly and firmly. Do not look the dog in the eyes. Stay still until the dog leaves, or slowly back away.
  • If you fall, curl into a ball with your hands over your head and neck.
If your dog bites someone (regardless of the cause):
  • Restrain your dog immediately and confine him.
  • Check on the victim: wash wounds with soap and water and seek medical attention.
  • Provide the victim/medical professionals with your information: name, address, and your dogs most recent rabies vaccine information.
  • Comply with local ordinances
If you are bitten:
  • If it is your dog: After confining your pet and seeking medical attention, have your pet examined here at PVC so we can discuss a possible medical trigger, or help you with behavioral training to prevent further incidents.
  • If it is someone else's dog: Seek medical treatment first. Contact authorities (the hospital may help you with this) and tell them what you can: the owner's name, breed/color/size of the dog, where you encountered the dog, and if you've seen the dog before. Discuss post-exposure rabies prophylaxis with your physician if necessary.