Any dog can bite, even the cute and fluffy ones! Regardless of size, dog bites can cause serious injury particularly to small children, who are also the most common victims. The dogs are also the victims, often getting euthanized after a biting incident. However, it’s good news that the majority of dog bites are totally preventable.
Let’s take a look at some dog bite stats taken from the AVMA.
- Every year, around 4.5 million people in the U.S fall victim to dog bites.
- In 2013 almost 6,000 postal workers were attacked by dogs and are among the most frequent victims of dog bites (the myth is true!)
- Dog bites were among the leading causes of nonfatal injuries to children aged 1-14 from 2003 – 2012.
- In 2013 insurers have paid over $483 million in dog bite claims.
- Almost 27, 000 reconstructive surgeries were performed in 2013 to repair dog bite injuries.
Some pretty alarming stats right? So, what can be done to help stop people falling victim to a dog bite? Here are our top 5 tips for reducing dog bites occurrences.
1. NEVER leave a child unattended with ANY dog, regardless of how friendly you think a dog may be. If you are looking to get a pet dog, you should consider postponing the occasion until your child is a little older!
2. Don’t encourage aggression in your dog because you want a “Guard Dog” to protect the home or business, this can only end up badly for you and your dog. Instead, train and socialize your dog so it is familiar and comfortable being around people and in different situations. If it’s security you want, build a higher fence!
3. Train your dog all the basic commands like “Sit”, “No”, “Stay”, “Come”. This is done to build trust between you and your dog while also giving you a little extra control over your dogs actions. You’re mailman will appreciate it!
4. ALWAYS keep your dog on a leash when you are out of the house – this is for the safety of everyone, including your dog. All it can take is a dog across the street to set your dog off running on to the road, or after someone. A leash is a simple but effective way to restrain your dog from chasing after that cat, or kid on a skateboard.
5. Educate your children that while most dogs are friendly, there are dogs out there that may feel threatened by people causing them to follow their instincts and protect themselves.
Here are some tips from the AVMA you should teach your kids to follow when around dogs:
- Don’t approach a dog that is sleeping, eating or caring for puppies.
- Never reach through or over a fence to pet a dog.
- Stay still if a dog comes up to you to have a sniff.
- If confronted by an aggressive dog, STAY CALM – stay still, or try to back away slowly, do not turn and run.
Finally, the best thing you can do to prevent dog bites is to use common sense. Follow your gut. If something doesn’t feel right or that dog is looking at you funny, remove yourself from the situation.