By Emily Amsden
Although dogs can be our best friends, every year, more than 800,000 Americans receive medical attention for dog bites and at least half of them are children. In order to decrease the amount of injuries due to dog bites, it is important that adults and children are educated on how to approach pets and about dog bite prevention. In honor of the 2016 National Dog Bite Prevention Week, May 18-24, here are some tips to increase safety:
- Pay close attention to body language. An aggressive dog may try to make it look bigger by moving its ears up and forward, making its hair rise, and moving forward or staring directly at what is threatening it. It may even show its teeth, growl, and lunge. Continuing to move toward a dog showing these aggressive signs could easily result in a dog bite.
- Approaching an unknown or unfamiliar dog. If you come across an unknown and possibly dangerous dog you want to be sure not to draw a lot of attention to yourself. You especially want to stay away if the dog is barking, growling, or off a leash. If you come across an unfamiliar dog you want to be sure to ask permission to touch or play with it from the dogs owner before helping yourself.
- Respect a dog’s space. Never touch a dog that is occupied. Dogs who are busy sleeping, eating, or chewing a toy demand respect by being left alone. Disrupting its space can startle the dog, which will most likely lead to a bite.
- Act like a tree. If a dog is making you feel like you’re in danger or as if it’s about to bite you, it is important for adults and especially children to stand tall like a tree with your arms out until the animal moves away. This will cause the dog to lose attention in what they found threatening.
- Proper training. In order to be sure your own dog doesn’t harm or threaten the public, it is crucial that you give it the proper training and socializing it needs. It is equally as important to share information and educate your children and friends on the safe ways to approach a dog.