National Dog Bite Prevention Week – celebrated during May 19th-25th in 2013 – is a nationally-celebrated awareness campaign designed to draw attention to the issue of injuries and death resulting from dog bites and attacks.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), more than 4.5 million people experience a dog bite or dog attack in the United States each year. Of those people who experience a dog bite or attack, one in five (approximately 20 percent) of them require medical attention for their injuries.
For this year’s National Dog Bite Prevention Week, the Davis Law Group would like to offer this list of tips to help both children and adults avoid being victimized by a dog bite or attack:
Dog Bite Prevention Tips for Children
- Many dog bite experts contend that face-to-face contact with dogs is one of the most common causes of dog bite injuries to the face and head. Teach children that dogs don’t necessarily enjoy hugs and kisses to the face and that petting the dog on the chest or side of the neck is a much safer way for them to show affection.
- Most children don’t understand that strange dogs can seriously injure them, and therefore don’t know how to act when they encounter a new dog. Teach your kids to stand still like a tree if a strange dog approaches them, or if a familiar dog becomes overexcited or aggressive.
- Dogs are very territorial animals, and children are often unaware of a dog’s natural animal instincts to protect themselves. Teach your kids to never disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating or protecting a toy.
Ways for Parents to Avoid Dog Attacks
- Never assume that your dog and child are fine to be left alone together. Especially with young children, parents should set an example for how to appropriately interact with dogs – even if it’s the family dog.
- Dog training courses are always a good idea and can make a big difference in how your dog interacts with people in the future. Experts say that using negative forms of punishment make your dog anxious and increase the chances that it will take out its aggression on people. Using positive reinforcement creates a stress-free environment for dogs and encourages them to behave.
It is especially important to remember that children are the most at risk of being injured from a dog bite or attack in the United States, likely for a number of reasons that have been outlined in this blog post. Also, the AVMA says that a majority of dog bites involving young children “occur during everyday activities and while [children are] interacting with familiar dogs.”