WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA9)--This is National Dog Bite Prevention Month. National Dog Bite Prevention Week takes place during the third full week of May each year, and focuses on educating people about preventing dog bites.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, "With an estimated population of 70 million dogs living in U.S. households, millions of people – most of them children – are bitten by dogs every year. The majority of these bites, if not all, are preventable."
According to a study conducted by the State University of New York in Buffalo, dog bites peak in warm weather months. Researchers theorize the reason summer is the peak time for dog bites is because more children and pets are outside this time of year. Plus the dogs may be more agitated due to hot temperatures.
PREVENTING DOG BITES
- Pet owners should always have their dog under control. This means keeping your dog on a leash when out in public.
- Also, just because your pet is "friendly" doesn't mean he won't bite. A pet owner should always assume their pet could bite. Don't let a child just run up and pet your dog. Make sure you are kneeling down at the dog and child's level when a child pets your dog. You should be close to the dog.
On the flip side, parents should teach their children how to be around dogs. Here are some things to go over with children:
- Never go up to a dog and start petting it. Ask the owner if you can pet the dog. Make sure movements toward the pet are not sudden. Let the dog see and sniff you first.
- Never approach a dog who is not with his owner.
- If a pet owner does not have their dog under control, and preferably in a sitting position, do not pet the dog.
- Do NOT disturb a dog who is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.
- Teach children never to tease a dog by poking at them.
A child should never reach through a fence or open car window to pet a dog.
- Do not chase dogs.
- Never run away from a dog that is chasing you. Stop, stand still, try to remain calm. Arms should be to your side, and you should remain as quiet as possible. Do NOT scream. try walking away slowly facing the animal but not staring into its eyes.
- Do NOT scream or be loud around a dog. Remember their hearing is much sharper than a human's. Loud noises agitate and scare dogs.
- Children should NOT stare into the eyes of a dog.
- Remember, just because a dog is wagging his tail, does not mean it is friendly.
- If a dog is injured, you should NOT touch him or try to help him. Call for help. Dogs will sometimes bite when they are in pain.
- If a dog shows aggressive behavior, such as barking and growling, consider putting an object--such as a chair--between you and the animal.
- If a dog does attack, "feed" him your jacket, book bag, or anything else you can put between you and the animal.