National Dog Bite Prevention Week (April 12th through 18th) | PetFirst
Pet Care & Health

National Dog Bite Prevention Week (April 12th through 18th)

by PetFirst Pet Insurance
1 year ago

Dogs provide us with unconditional love, companionship, loyalty, and protection.  It is our responsibility as their owners, guardians, and caretakers, to protect others from the dangers of dog bites by following and educating others about necessary dog-bite prevention safety measures.

National Dog Bite Prevention Week takes place during the second full week of April each year.  This year, National Dog Bite Prevention Week falls on April 12-April 18, 2020.  The week focuses on educating people about preventing dog bites.  

Dog Bite Statistics

Many people associate dog bites with large dogs, aggressive dogs, or certain breed types.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA),  approximately 78 million dogs are living in households in the U.S. and most of them make wonderful, loving pets.

The truth is that any dog can bite, regardless of size, age, or breed. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than half of those who are bitten each year are children. Children are also the age group most likely to be severely injured by dog bites.

More than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year in the United States, and more than 800,000 receive medical attention for dog bites.

The good news is that most dog bites are preventable.  It is important to learn to read dogs’ body language and recognize the warning signs of a dog bite.  Dogs are consistent friends to us. We owe it to them to be the best possible friends we can be too. That includes teaching other people safety tips to protect themselves when they are around our pups.

Understanding Why Dogs Bite

Dogs can bite for several different reasons:

  • A dog may lack socialization.
  • A dog may bite in reaction to a stimulus.
  • A dog might bite if it is provoked, especially when eating or sleeping.
  • A dog can bite when it feels scared.
  • A dog can bite in reaction to being startled.
  • The dog might be protecting something of value to him, such as food, a toy, or a treat.
  • A dog can bite when it is sick or injured.
  • A dog may be communicating a desire to be left alone.
  • A dog may bite when it feels threatened.
  • A dog may bite when it is protecting its puppies.

There are several steps you can take to reduce the number of dog bites.  The American Humane Organization offers the following suggestions:

Instruct children NOT to do the following:

  • Approach an injured animal.
  • Approach a dog that is eating, sleeping, or nursing puppies.
  • Approach an unknown dog.
  • Approach a dog that is not accompanied by an owner.
  • Poke, pinch, pull, hit, or tease a dog.

It is also crucial to always ask permission before approaching and petting a dog you do not know.

Recognize Signs of Fear and Anxiety in Dogs

Dogs never “snap.”  Like humans, dogs communicate.  However, often we miss what they are trying to tell us, or we don’t recognize their communication signals.

Before rushing up to the next fluffy, adorable dog you see, put yourself in the dog’s position.  How would you feel if numerous strangers crowded around you and began touching you while you were walking, sitting quietly, eating, sleeping, nursing your newborn baby?

Chances are you might feel nervous, threatened, and cornered without an escape.  That is how many dogs feel.

Pre-bite warning signs in fearful dogs can include:

  • Yawning.
  • Cowering (as if to make themselves smaller).
  • Licking their lips.
  • Tucking their tails between their legs.
  • Avoiding making direct eye contact.
  • Flattening their ears against their body.
  • Lifting the lip as if to snarl.
  • Maintaining a tense posture.

Be a Responsible Dog Owner

Even the most mild-tempered dogs can bite when they feel threatened or fearful. 

You can minimize the chances of your dog biting by being a responsible pet owner and doing the following:

  • Teach your dog basic commands such as “sit,” “stay,” and “no.”
  • Please do not put your dog in a situation where he feels threatened or teased. 
  • Take care when introducing a new dog to children. 
  • Always supervise your child’s actions with all dogs, including your dog. 
  • Carefully manage the introduction of a child with a dog
  • Avoid highly excitable games like wrestling and tug-of-war, which can lead to nipping. 
  • Obey all leash laws. 

Here at PetFirst, we know accidents and illnesses happen to all pets.  PetFirst is here for every canine and cat. Pet insurance can help cover unexpected vet visits. Make sure your pet is covered with PetFirst Pet Insurance. We have Dog Insurance Policies and Routine Care Coverage to fit every budget.

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