I just read recently where more than 800,000 people each year require medical attention for dog bites. Do you have some tips on how this can be prevented? I want to be able to tell my children what to do in those kinds of situations.
You raise a very good point about dog bites. Thanks for bringing it to our attention. Here is some information about dog bite prevention, what to do if you are bitten, and some ways to help make your dog a ‘good citizen”.
DOG BITE STATISTICS
- 3 million people are bitten each year
- 800,000 require medical care of which 300,000 go to the Emergency Room
- 10,000 are hospitalized
- 20 people die each year
- Insurance companies pay a minimum of 250 million dollars out each year.
BITE PREVENTION TIPS:
- Always believe the business end of the dog. If the tail is wagging, but he is growling, believe the growl.
- Stand still and do not run. Running stimulates dogs as do sudden movements and loud noises. So do not yell, wave your arms, or make other movements which tend to arouse dogs. Remember also, that dogs in groups are more likely to react than single dogs.
- Yelling at the dog may make matters worse. But sometimes, asking the dog to “sit” or saying “no” in a firm voice that is not a harsh reprimand, may help.
- If you are on a bike, do not try to outdistance the dog. Get off and get the bike between you and the dog.
- Do not stare, as staring is a threat to many dogs. If you stare you can be perceived as a challenge to an offensively aggressive dog and a threat to a defensively aggressive dog.
- Back away from the dog, keeping him in your peripheral vision by looking at the ground in front of his feet or slightly turning your head away from him. Do not run away with your back to the dog. Dogs are incredibly quick, and know the territory better than you do.
- If you are attacked, try to get something between you and the dog such as a bike, a roller blade, a jacket or shirt
- If you fall or are knocked down, curl up into a ball, with your hands over head, ears, and neck. Remain silent.
- Try to get a good description of the dog—size, breed, color, was he wearing a collar, were there tags on, where did he go after the threat.
- Report any threat to the town animal control officer or the town health officer.
IF YOU ARE BITTEN
- Immediately wash the wound with running water. A 10-minute flush will help to minimize bacterial contaminants. Remember that dog mouths can infect you with many bacteria at the same time. They are not as dirty as human or cat mouths, but you need to be aggressive in cleaning up a wound.
- Go to the hospital for treatment.
- Make sure your tetanus boosters are up to date.
- Report the incident to the police and the town health officer. It is critical that the dog be found so that you will know if the dog is vaccinated.
- The town health officer will impose a quarantine on the dog whether or not he is vaccinated. This is done as a precaution for rabies.
HOW TO HELP MAKE YOUR DOG A MODEL CITIZEN
- Socialize your dog.
- Spay or neuter your dog—this helps to decrease roaming and to help make dogs less reactive.
- Keep your dog up to date on vaccines.
- Make sure your dog knows that you are a leader, which is different than being a dictator.
- Use a head halter, if your dog is reactive in meeting people
- Ask your dog to sit for everything
- Do not allow your dog to roam
- Do not use a chain or a fence or a kennel as a baby-sitter.
- Exercise your dog on leash.
- Teach your dog what he needs to know BEFORE he needs to know it.