Tomorrow is the start of national dog bite prevention week. Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say there are 4.5 million people bitten every year, and half of those are children.
Here are some tips recommended by the CDC to help keep you and your family safe.
What should a dog owner do?
- Make sure your pet is socialized as a young puppy so it feels at ease around people and other animals.
- Don’t put your dog in a position where it feels threatened or teased.
- Train your dog. The basic commands “sit,” “stay,” “no,” and “come” help dogs understand what is expected of them and can be incorporated into fun activities that build a bond of trust between pets and people.
- Walk and exercise your dog regularly to keep it healthy and provide mental stimulation.
- Avoid highly excitable games like wrestling or tug-of-war.
- Use a leash in public to ensure you are able to control your dog.
- Keep your dog healthy. Have your dog vaccinated against rabies and preventable infectious diseases. Parasite control and other health care efforts are important because how your dog feels affects how it behaves.
- Spay/Neuter your pet.
- If you have a fenced yard, make sure the gates are secure.
How can you protect your family?
Be cautious around strange dogs, and treat your own pet with respect. Because children are the most common victims of dog bites, parents and caregivers should:
- NEVER leave a baby or small child alone with a dog.
- Be alert for potentially dangerous situations.
- Teach their children – including toddlers – to be careful around pets. Children must learn not to approach strange dogs or try to pet dogs through fences. Teach children to ask permission from the dog’s owner before petting the dog.