According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 4.7 million people sustain a dog bite injury each year and nearly 800,000 of those bites need serious medical attention. That number is probably low as not all dog bites are recorded.
There are a few simple precautions that can help prevent these sorts of injuries and keep you out of the emergency room.
-Move Slowly. Never approach an animal hurriedly. The animal perceives quick movements as threats. Threatened animals will bite to defend themselves.
-Ask the Owner. Be courteous and ask a dog's owner before you pet. Dogs have learned to read their owners feelings and a surprised owner creates a surprised pet. Surprised pets bite.
-Hand Out, Fist Closed. Whenever approaching a dog, or any household pet, approach the animal with your hand out and fist closed. This allows the animals to sniff your hand and gain a sense of comfortability as well as decide if it is willing to let you to pet it.
-What Would Bob Barker Do? The former host of Wheel of Fortune was right. Spaying or neutering your dog decreases the likelihood of aggressive behavior.
-Throw a Pup Party. Socialize your dog at a young age by exposing it to as many different situations and people as possible. The more exposure that it has, the less likely it will be to react negatively in the future.
-Cue the 80s Montage. Take your dog to a trainer. Even a single visit could have a positive impact on how you and your dog relate to each other.
-Plan Ahead. Put your dog in situations where they can succeed. Leaving a pet inside during the 4th of July might be the smartest option.
-Leave the Leashed Alone. Don’t approach a strange dog that is on a leash. Dogs are that are on a leash are much more likely to be aggressive.
-Let Sleeping Dogs Lie. Don’t disturb a dog while it is sleeping, eating, or with its puppies.
-Cardio No No. Never run from a strange dog. Instead, stand still “like a tree” and let the animal sniff around you. Chances are it will quickly become disinterested and move on.
By following these 10 simple precautions you can decrease the chance you'll be bitten and decrease the chance your dog will bite someone.