Pet Calendar: Dog Bite Prevention Week

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By Robbi Hess — Managing Editor, Pet Calendar; Crimeless Cat Executive Story Editor; Chief Cat Herder 

We love our dogs! Did you know that in the United States there are close to 90 million dogs living with their families? I was blown away! I was also blown away when I thought about how many people have the potential to get bitten by a dog simply because they don’t pay enough attention to the dog’s body language.

pet calendar dog bite prevention weekWhen a dog bites, he rarely lashes out without warning. An astute lover of dogs will recognize the warning signs and either move away from the potential of a dog bite or he will remove his dog from a situation where he may bite a human or another dog.

Dog bites are rarely unprovoked, but it is the dog who suffers when he bites. It is also important that as pet parents we understand that any dog of any size and any breed has the potential to bite. It is our responsibility as pet parents to help assure our dogs don’t get into a situation where their only option is to lash out.

 Pet Calendar: Dog Bite Prevention Week

April 8- 15, 2018 has been designated National Dog Bite Prevention Week. It is a time when those in the pet industry join forces to educate adults and children about ways in which they can protect themselves from a dog bite.

It is also a time when the United States Post Office sets aside to urge dog owners to keep their dogs indoors when the mail carrier is delivering to your home. Keeping dogs indoors if packages and mail are being delivered will help keep the mail carrier safe and to keep your dog from getting in trouble for having bitten someone.

Understand that the way in which you approach a strange dog or act around an off-leash dog may mean the difference between our getting bitten or staying safe.

Which ten states had the most reported claims of dog bites in 2017? State Farm Insurance released its list:

  1. California
  2. Illinois
  3. Ohio
  4. Pennsylvania
  5. Texas
  6. Michigan
  7. Minnesota
  8. New York
  9. Indiana
  10. Georgia

 Here are steps to take to avoid being bitten:  

  1. Understand dog body language. A tail wag may not mean a dog is welcoming you. It could be a warning sign. A yawn is not just a sign of being tired. A yawn could mean that a dog is anxious. An anxious or scared dog is one who is more prone to lash out and bite.
  2. Give a dog his space. This is good advice whether it’s your dog or a strange dog. If your dog is backing away from you, you need to determine why and let him approach you. Don’t rush at a strange dog, again let him come to you.
  3. A dog raised with love and one who is trained is more likely to be happy, confident and less likely to bite. That being said, remember any dog could potentially bite if he is scared or injured.

If your dog gets nervous around strangers, give her a place she can go to get away from the noise and the people. Don’t force your dog to interact if he’s scared. If your dog is not accustomed to children or to humans that are eye level, be very cautious about the introductions and watch your dog’s body language.

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Larry Kay is the award-winning coauthor of Training the Best Dog Ever, which became a #1 best seller in dog training on Amazon Kindle. He is Leader of the Pack at Positively Woof, which helps shelter dogs get adopted by making videos and raises awareness and funds. Larry is an award-winning dog filmmaker and has been a frequent contributor to the American Animal Hospital Association and Dog Fancy magazine.
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