via AVMA.org - Last year, nearly 5 million people were bitten by dogs in the United States, and nearly a million people, more than half of them children, require medical attention for dog bites every year.
To help educate the public on how best to prevent dog bites, the AVMA is again teaming up with the American Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S. Postal Service to sponsor the 17th annual National Dog Bite Prevention Week, held this year from May 15-21.
There are a number of things that 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 is one of the best cures for this public health crisis.
What you as a dog owner can do:
- Carefully select your pet. Puppies should not be obtained on impulse.
- Make sure your pet is socialized as a young puppy so it feels at ease around people and other animals.
- Don't put your dog in a position where it feels threatened or teased.
- Train your dog. The basic commands "sit," "stay," "no," and "come" help dogs understand what is expected of them and can be incorporated into fun activities that build a bond of trust between pets and people.
- Walk and exercise your dog regularly to keep it healthy and provide mental stimulation.
- Avoid highly excitable games like wrestling or tug-of-war.
- Use a leash in public to ensure you are able to control your dog.
- Keep your dog healthy. Have your dog vaccinated against rabies and preventable infectious diseases.
- Neuter your pet.
- If you have a fenced yard, make sure the gates are secure.
For more information on preventing dog bites, visit the American Veterinary Medical Association’s website by clicking here.
Image: Andreas März at Flickr