While more than 70 million dogs live in U.S. homes, that doesn’t mean dogs are entirely harmless. Millions of people are bitten every year, according to the American Veterinarian Medical Association. In fact, dog bites are among the leading nonfatal injuries in children 14 and under.
That’s why the AVMA sponsors National Dog Bite Prevention Week® every May. This year, the week falls on May 17 to 23.
We decided to assemble a few tips to help prevent or minimalize dog bites either to you or your loved ones. These include:
- Proper training and socialization: A dog might bite if he or she feels threatened or scared. That’s why it’s really important to get your dog comfortable around other humans and dogs. You can start by teaching your dog to follow commands, such as to “sit” or “lay down.” If you need help, contact a trainer or veterinarian.
- Leash restraint: When you’re in a super crowded place, make sure to keep your leash short, which will give you more control over your pet.
- Know Your Friends and Be Wary of Potential Foes: Dog bites can carry diseases and germs, so it’s important to keep dogs away from each other when you don’t know how they will react with each other. A dog’s bark isn’t necessarily worse than it’s bite.
- Avoid Potentially Stressful and Harmful Situations: Like humans, dogs have different personalities. Maybe your pooch feels threatened by other dogs or dogs that are bigger than he or she is. If so, minimize contact with other dogs by avoiding dog parks.
- Consider the Costs of Bite Wound Treatment: Dog bites can be expensive depending on how serious the injury is. And sometimes, you might have to reopen a bite, or sedate or anesthetize an animal in order to treat an animal. Think of that and approach cautiously when interacting with unfamiliar dogs.