Warmer weather means more outdoor activities. You are bound to encounter lots of dogs in your travels, but how can you be sure a dog won’t lash out and bite you, or that your dog won’t bite someone else?
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) offers these dog bite facts:
- Each year, more than 4.5 million people in the U.S. are bitten by dogs.
- Almost 1 in 5 people bitten by dogs require medical attention.
- Every year, more than 800,000 Americans receive medical attention for dog bites; at least half of them are children.
- Children are, by far, the most common victims of dog bites and are far more likely to be severely injured.
- Most dog bites affecting young children occur during everyday activities and while interacting with familiar dogs.
- Senior citizens are the second most common dog bite victims.
To keep others from getting bitten by your dog, make sure he is well-socialized with other animals from an early age. It is important that you make sure your dog has plenty of exercise and positive attention. Proper training from a young age will help you dog be aware of human expectations.
You can teach children to always ask an owner for permission to pet a dog, and if granted, offer the dog the back of a hand to sniff first. Also, touching a dog while he is eating or sleeping is not a good idea. Children should not taunt a dog that is behind a fence and they should also avoid staring at a dog directly in the eyes. We don’t want kids to be afraid of dogs, just cautious when the dog, or the situation, is unknown. For example, a dog that is otherwise docile, may bite you if you try to pet him while he is in a car. This dog may not ever have been aggressive, but feels territorial locked inside a car.