Dog Bite Prevention Week!

May 15- 21, 2011

This week marks the 17th   year of Annual National Dog Bite Prevention Week. Dog Bite Prevention Week!Each year in this country almost 5 million people are bit by dogs. About 20% of these victims require medical attention, most of them children. Almost 30,000 people undergo reconstructive surgery every year as a result of dog bites. Many of these dog bites occur between people and dogs that they are familiar with, even family pets. There are several things that you can do to keep your family as well as your dog safe.

Preventing Dog Bites through Socialization

As a dog owner, ensure that your dog is socialized as a puppy. Expose him to all types of people including children, the elderly, and people of different races. Take him to obedience classes and make sure he understands basic commands. Have him or her neutered or spayed. Do not play aggressive games like tug-of-war or wrestle with him. Keep all vaccinations current, especially rabies vaccination.

Children and Dogs

If you have children, never leave your infant or child alone with your dog, even for a minute. You should never trust your dog no matter how good you think he is. Establish separate territories within the house and yard. Have an area where your dog can go to feel safe away from the children, and teach your children that this area is always off limits. This can be a dog bed, a crate or dog house, or some other safe area. You should also have areas where the children can go to get away from the dog where the dog is not allowed.

Teach your children how to behave around dogs. Instruct them never to touch or pet a dog unless they ask the dog’s owner first.  They should not run and scream around dogs. If approached by a strange dog, they should learn to stay still and allow the dog to sniff them and walk away.

Dogs are fabulous companions and can be a wonderful addition to any family when all precautions are taken for everyone’s safety.

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Dr Jill Christofferson

Jill Christofferson, DVM is an experienced veterinary general practitioner. Her professional interests include ophthalmology, dentistry, and reproduction.

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