Did you know that more than more than 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs every year, and one in five requires medical attention? Biting is not restricted to any specific breed or type of dog—there is always a risk, especially if the dog feels threatened or scared. While there’s no way to guarantee that a dog will never bite, there are certainly ways to reduce the risk. April 7-13 is National Dog Bite Prevention Week, so here’s what you need to know:
If You Encounter a Dog…
- Ask first
Never assume that it is okay to pet or interact with someone else’s dog. Always ask permission first to ensure the dog is friendly and it is okay to pet them. Let the dog sniff your hand first before touching them so they can feel more comfortable, and make sure they know you are going to pet them—don’t sneak up from behind where they can’t see you.
- Be respectful
Always be respectful and gentle when interacting with a dog. Avoid teasing or taunting them, and don’t let children pull their fur, ears, or tail or put their hands in their faces. Never try to take a toy or object away from them as they can find this threatening and may snap or bite. Also, do not bother the dog while it is eating, tending to its puppies, or sleeping.
- Supervise children
Make sure that you supervise your children when they are around dogs. Teach them how to be gentle and interact appropriately with the animal, staying calm and not riling them up. Remind them not to poke or hit the dog or get too close to its personal space.
If You Are a Dog Owner…
- Socialize/train your dog
From the time your dog is young, start exposing it to different situations and people. Let it become comfortable interacting with others so that it is not easily spooked by noises, children, or new settings. Enroll your dog in a training course so that it learns basic commands and behaviors; this can help to reduce risk of biting.
- Use a leash
Keep your dog on a leash when outside of your home. This allows you to maintain some control of any situations that may arise. It will be easier to keep your dog close by and steer them out of potentially threatening situations or keep them from running off.
- Supervise others
If you allow others to pet or play with your dog, make sure you are there to supervise. Let others know how to safely interact with your dog and anything they may not like, such as their face or tail being touched. Also, pay attention to signs from your dog that they are overwhelmed, anxious, or threatened so you can create an environment where they feel more comfortable and relaxed. Remember that it is okay to ask people to please not pet your dog.
Be a responsible pet owner and know where your dog is at all times, and take steps to make sure they are well trained and behaved. Also, do your best to avoid putting them in situations where they may feel cornered or threatened. If you are away on vacation or a business trip, keep your dog—and others—safe by boarding them at a reputable facility like Lake Wylie Pet Resort where you know they’ll be in good hands. Contact us today to book a stay or learn more about other services such as doggie daycare.