Dogs are often viewed as beloved pets that keep us company, and are prominently found in neighborhoods around the world. However, dog bites can occur and can be quite serious. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, more than 4.5 million Americans are bitten by a dog each year. Dog bites cannot only cause physical distress, but can also cause immense emotional distress.
It can be hard to predict when a dog will lash out and bite a human, but there are precautions families should keep top of mind before approaching a dog.
- Because aggression in dogs can result from being startled, never interrupt a dog while he/she is sleeping or eating. In the same token, do not make sudden and loud noises around dogs.
- Teach young children or elderly adults to keep a safe distance away from dogs that are noticeably agitated.
- Always ask the dog’s owner for permission to pet him/her before touching the dog.
- Always offer the back of your hand to a dog to sniff before you pet him/her. This helps to calm the nerves of the dog.
- Avoid direct eye contact with a dog, especially if you’ve never met before.
As a dog owner, you can help prevent dog bites from occurring by socializing your dog early on in a safe place. Training your dog to follow basic commands like sitting, staying, and dropping can also help prevent accidents from occurring. Moreover, training your dog to be on a leash when he/she is outside of the home can go a long way in preventing accidents. Be sure to register your dog, and keep him/her current on rabies vaccinations.
If a dog ever bites you, don’t delay in reporting it as soon possible. Be sure to also seek immediate medical attention for any wounds sustained.