Did you know that millions of people are bitten by dogs every year? Children, elderly, and postal carriers are the most frequent victims of dog bites. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), “The majority of these bites, if not all, are preventable.”
To raise awareness and educate the public, AVMA has designated the third full week of May as National Dog Bite Prevention Week.
Whether you are the parent of a child or the parent of a pet, it is important to know how to enjoy dogs and prevent bites.
1. Do not approach unfamiliar dogs.
2. Do not run from a dog or scream.
3. Do not pet a dog without allowing it to see or sniff you first.
Since dogs can’t talk, we need to rely on their body language to understand how they are feeling. While some actions have universal meanings, dogs, like people, have their own personalities. As a dog owner, it is your responsibility to know how to read your dog’s body language. Click here to read more about dogs and their body language.
Resources for parents, pet owners, and veterinarians can be found at the Dog Bite Prevention page. You can also listen to podcasts, watch videos, and join social media sites.
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. Always, always ask the owner’s permission before you attempt to pet a dog you don’t know.