The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : How to Prevent Being Bitten By a Dog - Please Share with Children The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : How to Prevent Being Bitten By a Dog - Please Share with Children

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

How to Prevent Being Bitten By a Dog - Please Share with Children

Each year, more than 4.5 million people in the U.S. are bitten by dogs.
Almost 1 in 5 people bitten by dogs require medical attention. 

Every year, more than 800,000 Americans receive medical attention for dog bites; at least half of them are children.

Children are, by far, the most common victims of dog bites and
 are far more likely to be severely injured.

Most dog bites affecting young children occur during everyday activities and while interacting with familiar dogs.

Senior citizens are the second most common dog bite victims.

There are many things you can do to avoid dog bites, ranging from properly training and socializing your pet to educating your children on how - or if - they should approach a dog. Information and education are the best solutions for this public health crisis.

Did you know that 50 percent of all children in the United States will be bitten by a dog before their 12th birthday? Did you know that 800,000 bites a year are severe enough to require medical treatment, while 1 to 2 million go unreported?

The vast majority of dog bites are from a dog known to the child—his or her own pet, a neighbor's or friend's. You can help prevent this from happening to your child. Please discuss with him or her the appropriate way to behave around dogs. The following activity will help you and your child understand the difference between safe and potentially dangerous interactions with dogs.

The following is a list of pledges that you can recite with your child:

1. I will not stare into a dog's eyes.
2. I will not tease dogs behind fences.
3. I will not go near dogs chained up in yards.
4. I will not touch a dog I see loose (off-leash) outside.
5. If I see a loose dog, I will tell an adult immediately.
6. I will not run and scream if a loose dog comes near me.
7. I will stand very still (like a tree), and will be very quiet if a dog comes near me.
8. I will not touch or play with a dog while he or she is eating.
9. I will not touch a dog when he or she is sleeping.
10. I will only pet a dog if I have received permission from the dog's owner.
11. Then I will ask permission of the dog by letting him sniff my closed hand.

Print out this activity sheet for children:

Activity Sheet

May I Pet the Dog?
Help your child understand the difference between safe and potentially dangerous interactions with dogs.
Download here: Activity Sheet

Keep your distance from dogs you don't know. Some dogs are so cute it's almost impossible to resist petting them. You should also think twice before you try to make friends with an unfamiliar dog, because some dogs simply aren't very friendly, and many otherwise pleasant dogs may be skittish around strangers.

Never try to pet an unfamiliar dog that's behind a fence, tied up, or in a car. As you don't know this animal, it could be dangerous. Dogs can be very protective of their territory, and if you enter their space, they could see you as a threat.

Avoid loose dogs. If you're walking and you see an unfenced, untied dog up ahead, try to avoid it. Cross the street or go around the block. Stay out of reach of dogs on leashes, as well.

Ask the dog owner's permission before you pet a dog. If a dog doesn't handle strangers well, the owner usually knows.

Allow dogs to investigate you before you touch them. Try holding your hand in a "cup" to introduce yourself to smaller dogs, and hold your hand in a relaxing manner in front of a large dog, like a loose fist. Dogs are naturally curious and may want to sniff you or approach you slowly. This is usually not threatening behavior, but if you don't allow a dog to investigate you before you try to touch him, he may bite in self-defense. By the same token, never surprise a dog and touch him when he's not expecting it.

Be gentle. Don't play rough with a dog, or the dog may play rough back, which may result in you getting bitten. An excited dog is an unpredictable dog.

Let sleeping dogs lie. Don't rouse a dog that's sleeping, especially if it's not your dog. In addition, avoid disturbing dogs while they're feeding, chewing on a bone or chew toy, or caring for their puppies. DO NOT try to take food away from most dogs, unless you know they are properly socialized, and that they are fine with you taking things away from them. Ask the owner first.

Stay away from mad dogs. Dogs frequently will tell you if they don't want you around. If a dog growls, bears its teeth and wrinkles its nose in a snarl, or if the hair on a dog's back is raised, keep away.

Stand your ground. Also, try not to make eye contact- this is considered threatening in animal behavior. Don't run away from a dog, especially a clearly angry one. Turning your back on a dog and running may awaken the dog's instinct to chase prey, and you don't want to be prey. If you encounter an unfamiliar dog, keep your cool, and walk slowly away without turning your back. Stand still if the dog appears ready to attack you, and keep your hands close to your sides with your fingers curled in to prevent getting them bitten.

Avoid eye contact with a dog. Don't look a strange dog right in the eyes. The dog may see this as a challenge (as said before).

Teach children how to act around dogs, and don't leave children unattended with dogs. Children are small and vulnerable to bites, and they also tend to want to play with dogs even when dogs aren't feeling up to playing. This can lead to situations where a child is in fact harassing a dog, and the dog may become aggressive in order to get the child to stop. If you are leaving the room with a dog and a small child, take the dog with you. That way, if the child has a scratch or a bruise, you know it was not caused by the dog.

Do not HUG dogs. Dogs do not hug each other naturally. Dogs mount each other to mate, show dominance, or to try to get a reaction from another dog. Hugging a dog might get a reaction you do not want, a nip or a bite. Hugging a dog is rude. It is much kinder and more polite to simply stand there, or stroke the friendly dog in its back.

Be careful when moving an injured dog. A dog in pain may lash out even at a friendly person. If you do want to help move a dog that has been injured, either be prepared to receive a minor bite or put on heavy gloves and a heavy coat to protect yourself. If the owner is present, ask him or her to handle the dog's head while you help lift the body. Covering a dog's head with a coat or shirt might help to prevent the dog from seeing you and might block the bite.

Be careful when splitting up dogs that are fighting. If possible, try not to physically touch the dogs at all. Spraying with a hose might work. If the fight is not too serious, human breath spray (Listerine or Binaca)is disgusting to most dogs, but not harmful. If you have to touch them, grab them by the hind legs to pull them apart. Don't touch them near their collars, heads or shoulders. If both dogs seem to want to keep fighting, try to drag one through a doorway or gate, and use the door/gate to separate them, or tug on a leash.

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